Review of Psalms and Music

My review of Max Stern’s book Psalms and Music is now available in RBL to SBL members. I inadvertently violated the SBL open access policy in sharing my last review on Academia.edu and so I will not be doing so this time. I will say that, while I did have some criticisms to offer (Stern [Read More…]

Bishop as Composer

The above is a setting of the Psalms known as the “songs of ascent” (or similar titles), by Russian Orthodox bishop and composer Hilarion Alfeyev. Below is his setting of St. Matthew’s Passion. And here is his Christmas Oratorio:     He is also the author of numerous books…   [Read more…]

Moroccan Jewish Psalms

In exploring the traditions of chanting or singing the Psalms and other scriptures, I came across the above YouTube channel which features music of the Sephardic Jewish tradition, more specifically from Morocco. Can you detect that the tonality is not that of Western even-tempered music? You can find demonstrations of the relevant scales (also used [Read More…]

Introducing Metrical Psalms

For the first time since I’ve been teaching, I brought a guitar with me to class and sang to/with my students. Teaching a course on the Bible and music does strange things to one’s pedagogy. I decided to record the class, mainly so that I could see what it was like. Not nearly as bad [Read More…]

My Soul Hath Refuge in Thee, “Psalm 91” by Evelyn Simpson-Currenton

[Read more…]

O Lord Our Lord

I have mentioned before that I will be teaching a new course this semester on the Bible and music. And I also shared a setting I made of texts from Amos, to music that I wrote. The score to the piece is now available on IMSLP. Well, another option for students is to take an existing melody [Read More…]

Preserve Me, O God

A setting of Psalm 16 by my colleague Frank Felice. You can find the score for the piece on his Selected Works page. [Read more…]

Ruth Watson Henderson

Another woman composer that I omitted from my post on the subject was Ruth Watson Henderson. Her Cantate Domino is above, and below is Psalm 100. [Read more…]

How Lovely Is Your Dwelling Place

One piece that I omitted from my post on settings of biblical texts to music by female composers is that featured in the video above: “How Lovely is Your Dwelling Place” (Psalm 84) by Victoria Bond. You can read Bond’s notes about the composition in The Bible Retold by Jewish Artists, Writers, Composers and Filmmakers, [Read More…]

Jesus’ Coronation Anthem

As I was preparing to speak about Handel’s Messiah recently, I came across a great description of what the Hallelujah Chorus is, stylistically speaking, in Calvin Stapert’s book about the piece (p.135). It is a coronation anthem for Jesus. I think that grasps the feel of the piece perfectly, and it is striking as well [Read More…]