This is it, people. This is the last of the Hallel Psalms; that is, 118 of 113-118. Now that all the songs are completed, I still need to write two more instrumental sections to complete the whole cantata thingy I’ve been working on.
A word on Psalm 118. When you’re turning a Psalm into a song, there are a million ways you could go. In the case of Psalm 118, it is all over the place thematically, ranging from “this is the day the Lord has made” to “open the gates of righteousness” to “I will exult over my enemies.” Really, the Psalm deserves a rhapsodic composition rather than a simple song. Which is exactly what I did a few years ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKXjkRaEZ8M.
But this time I wanted something more congregational. I pulled two major themes from the Psalm: death/imprisonment versus life/freedom, and the eternal nature of God versus the fleeting nature of human power. It still makes for somewhat of a sprawling song, but manageable by a cantor and congregation.