If necessity is the mother of invention, the lectionary is the muse of new Psalm settings.
I already composed one setting of Psalm 67, but that was a complicated choir, organ, brass, and percussion anthem. What I needed for yesterday was a simple, solid setting that all but sang itself. A first attempt was…frothy. My second attempt put me on a path I knew would be more fruitful.
The song is in what I’ve dubbed a “modern medieval” style–stately but with a strong rhythmic spine. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how music can dignify or trivialize a congregation’s humanity, and this feels like something an adult could sing without being trite on the one hand or elitist on the other.
One of the cool features of the song is that the verse mirrors the chorus, but one step up. This modulatory slight of hand makes each return of the chorus sound inevitable, but surprising. It also allows for Taizé style layering of verse on top of chorus or men singing the chorus underneath the women singing the verse. I love that Escher stuff!
Feast your eyes on the dignified modern medieval Taizé-style Escheresque goodness here: PDF.