Settings of: Psalms
Date: Thu, 8 Jan 1998 17:45:29 -0500
From: "Betsy Burleigh"
Subject: psalm setting compilation-long
Thanks to all for some wonderful suggestions!
I am contemplating a program of Psalm settings, the main event being
Bernstein's Chichester Psalms in the version for organ, harp and percussion.
I'd be curious to hear of your tried and true, favorite Psalm settings for mixed
chorus. Let's leave it open to any accompaniment and/or a cappella, though the
instrumentation above would be a plus. I'd also be curious about your
untried-but-really-interesting-looking list. Mine includes Lili Boulanger's
Psaume: De profundis (Du fond de l'abime). I will compile a list and post,
as there currently is not one for Psalm settings on the CRS.
WAYLAND ROGERS - THREE PSALMS
FOR MEN'S CHORUS AND STRINGS
1. Dominus regit me (The LKord is my Shepherd)
2. Ecce quam bonum (Behold, how good it is)
3. Laudate Dominum (Praise the Lord,all ye people)
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD - BOBBY MCFERRIN
John Rutter has a compilation of psalm settings entitled "Psalmfest" which is
intended to be sung as a complete work (of course they can be performed
individually as well!) - if you like Rutter, this is a great resource.
===================From: "David D. Brensinger"
Organist/choirmaster, Holy Innocents', Atlanta
Below is a list of pieces that my Parish Choir performed at the Piccolo Spoleto
Psalm 98 Make a joyful noise-Leo Sowerby
Psalm 85 Mercy & truth-Ned Rorem
Psalm 27 The Lord is my light-Stephen Sturk
Psalm 84 O how amiable-William Mathias
Psalm 117 Lobet den Herren-J.S. Bach
Psalm 89 My song shall be always-Gerald Near
Psalm 95 O come, let us sing-Anthony Piccolo
Psalm 23 Psalm 23-Martin How
Psalm 67 Let the peoples praise thee, O God-Bruce Neswick
Psalm 34 O taste and see-Richard DeLong
Psalm 100 O be joyful-John Rutter
There is a wonderful setting of Psalm 111 also in Hebrew by Salomon Sulzer (late
19th century Viennese) originally for organ and harp. I've also orchestrated it
for string orchestra and harp and chorus and high baritone solo. It's about 10
minutes long published by HaZamir music, order through Transcontinental Music
Recording available THE MAJESTY OF HOLINESS (CD) available from zamir
================From: WDFH78A(a)prodigy.com (MR JACK W BURNAM)
A few years back my chamber chorus did "Three Psalms" by the Israeli
composer Paul Ben-Haim: settings of Psalms 4, 23 and 147, in Hebrew,
about 15 minutes total duration, scored for chorus, baritone and
soprano soloists and orchestra. We did it with piano; the instrument
list in the vocal-piano score includes percussion (2 players) and
harp, so I think you could work out a way to use the Bernstein
instrumentation. It's similar enough to the Bernstein in scope and
size that perhaps it wouldn't work on the same program; but the
writing is distinctive, elegant and lyrical. Getting hold of it
might be another problem; the publisher is Israeli Music Publications
of Tel Aviv, and I don't know who their agent in this country is at
present. Transcontinental Music Pub. in New York MIGHT be able to
help. MAYBE. Good luck in your quest.
I personally like the Psalm Cyklus of Leonard Enns (Thomas House
Publications). Seven movements, alternating piano accompaniment with a
cappella. Some German text, some divisi, otherwise entirely accessible.
==================From: Jeff Joudrey
There is a wonderful setting called " Sing Unto the Lord A New Song " by the
Canadian Srul Irving Glick (published by Gordon V. Thompson in Toronto)
for mixed choir and harp. I perfromed it this year with the Bernstein
Chichester and the two pieces worked beautifully together. It (like the
Bernstein) is about 18 min. long.
Don't forget to look in James Laster's book, "Catalogue of Choral
Music in Biblical Order" (new edition 1997, I think). My current faves are
"Wie lieblich" from Brahms's Requiem and the Vaughan Williams "O how amiable",
both based on Psalm 84.
==================From: kbowers(a)stlnet.com (Kathryn Smith Bowers)
Take a look at Psalm 92 by Lee Hoiby for SATB, brass quartet, timpani, and
organ. It's a stunning slightly longer-than-usual anthem. It is published
by Peer-Southern (of just Southern?). Hoiby revised it a few years ago.
It's previous title was "The Lord is King." It's one of my very favorites.
We're doing a psalm setting set on our tour program this year:
Palestrina - Jubilate Deo (12 parts)
S. Rossi - Elohim Hashiveinu
Gibbons - Lift Up Your Heads
Sweelinck - Chantez a Dieu Nouveau Cantique
Didn't Sweelinck write a setting of every psalm? The ones I know are
==============From: flentje(a)juno.com (Donald R Flentje)
Have you looked at the Kent Newbury Psalm 150 for 6 part (a cappella)
chorus? I've always preferred it to the Cesar Franck setting for chorus
and orchestra/organ of the same Psalm. The chorus has to do in the
Newbury, what the orchestra adds to the Franck. I'm sure we did some
Poulenc that were Psalm settings too but I can't think of the specifics
One that comes to mind right away is Rutter's setting of the 23rd psalm,
from his REQUIEM. It can be bought separately.
Schubert also did some lovely ones, also including a setting of the 23rd,
which I have sung, and would recommend.
Mendelssohn also wrote psalm settings, but none are coming to mind,
although they should.
Gabrieli: Jubilate Deo
Stanford: Beati quorum via
Palestrina: Sicut cervus
Parry: I was glad
Sweelinck: Pseaume 98
Ives: Sixty-Seventh Psalm
Mendelssohn: Psalm 43
Schoenberg: De Profundis
Poulenc: Exultate Deo
Bruckner: Os Justi meditabitur
Allegri: Misereri, mei Dei
Bach: Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden
(Aguiar: Salmo 150)
Harvey: I Love the Lord
==================From: R John Specht
These are kind of tried-and-true settings of Psalm texts, most of anthem length
and not nearly as elaborate as the Bernstein--also on my tried-and-true
Show Me Thy Ways, by Walter Pelz
Psalm 25: 4-5 SATB, oboe and guitar Augsburg 11-0642
I have no idea if it's still in print; it's copyright 1970. The guitar part
includes fingerings for the short passages that are not played by chord, and
hence usable by a reasonably proficient guitarist who may not play "classical
guitar." The oboe part "can be done by flute," but in my opinion would not be
nearly as effective.
Psalm 90 Charles Ives Southern (?) SATB div., organ and bells
O How Amiable Psalm 84 Vaughan Williams Oxford U. Press SATB and organ
(available also for orchestra?)
Schaffe in mir (Create in Me, O God) Brahms Psalm 51
Jubilate Deo - SSATB a cappella - Greg A. Lapp bp971215
This rhythmical setting captures the joy of Psalm 100. Changing meter and
dissonance in the inner voices make learning a challenge but once incorporated
into the singers being, it makes an exciting and dynamic impresssion.
If you are interested in a perusal copy, please contact: brosscum publications
805-879041 or Lappers2(a)aol.com
==============From: "C. M. Shearer"
The first one that popped into my head is Franz Zimmerman's PSLAMKONZERT. Do
you know this one? It is a three movement work for choir, string bass,
three trumpets. It has jazz elements sprinkled throughout, and it's a lot of
==============From: "Dr. John Grigsby"
SING UNTO THE LORD A NEW SONG - Saul Irving Glick (Elmer Iseler Choral
Series) for Mixed Choir(SSAATTBB) and Harp or Piano - Also scored for 2
flutes, 2 clarinets in Bb, 1 F horn, harp and strings - (duration ca. 18:00
min) 4 movements with brief passages in Hebrew - Fits well with Bernstein
PSALM 67 - Charles Ives - SSATTBB - Associated Music Publishers
PSALM 90 - SATB, Organ and Bells - Merion Music (Theodore Presser)
LORD, THOU HAST BEEN OUR REFUGE (Psalm 90) - R. Vaughan Williams Double Chorus
PSALM 150 - Benjamin Britten - SA and organ - Boosey & Hawkes
PSALM 150 - Ernani Aguiar - SATB - earthsongs publishers
CANTATE DOMINO - PSALM 96 - Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck -SSATB - Concordia
JAUCHZET DEM HERREN (Psalm 100) - Heinrich Schutz - Double Chorus -
"Silent Devotion and Response" from SACRED SERVICE - Ernest Bloch- SATB,
Organ (I believe this test is derived from Psalm 19:14) "O Lord, may the
words of my mouth, and the meditations..." Published separately I think by
A favorite of mine is Jean Berger's a cappella setting of Psalm 95: O Come Let
Us Sing to the Lord, (SATB, Broude Bros BB 1027, about 5:30 in length). It is
imaginative, using several metric and textural changes, and it is expressive
==============From: "Parker G. Emerson"
OCP (Oregon Catholic Press) has three volumes of Psalm settings called
"Singing the Psalms, Vol. 1", "Singing the Psalms, Vol.2", and, oddly
enough, "Singing the Psalms, Vol. 3". Each volume contains 24 different
Psalms; there are very few Psalm duplications between volumes, and even
these are different arrangements (e.g. Psalm 19 is in volumes 1 and 2,
but composers are joncas in volume 1 and Inwood in volume 2)
Each volume has a Choral/guitar/solo instruments version, a
unison/keyboard version, and a stereo cassette available.
Emerson Enterprises provides choral and handbell music on time to meet
your rehearsal and performance needs. We would like to serve you.
===============From: Mark Gresham
I have two fairly new Psalm settings that are stand-alone octavos:
"How Excellent Is Thy Name"
commissioned by Dacula High School, 1996
(SATB & organ)
commissioned by Eastminster Presbyterian Church of Marietta (GA), 1996
There are passages of other works which are settings of Psalms, but *may*
not work "alone" outside of the context of the larger work ("Gloria Nova,"
"A Garland for Easter," "Te Deum"--all incorporate Psalm passages in some
form or another).
I can send you samples of "How Excellent..." and "Psalm 150"--send me
e-mail to let me know you want copies. Thanks in advance for your
=================From: RobertamR(a)aol.com Robert Ross
I really don't know these too well (yet), but there are a set of three psalms
for SATB, organ & harp by the late Kevin Oldham, published by Kjos that would
work perfectly with the reduced version of *Chichester Psalms.*
On the other hand, here's some favorites:
Randall Thompson: *The Lord Is My Shepherd* (SATB; pno or hp) ECS
Howard Hanson: *Two Psalms* (121 & 150) (SATB, orch or organ) C Fischer; also
Lukas Foss: *Psalms* (SATB div, short soli S & T; 2 pianos or orchestra) Carl
Fischer--fiendishly difficult for pianists; about on a par with Chichester
for the voices, but worth it!
Charles Ives: *Psalm 90* (SATB multiple div., organ, 4 sets of bells)
Lili Boulanger: *Psaume 24* (SATB div., T solo, large brass ensemble, organ,
harp, timp.) Durand/Theodore Presser
Daniel Pinkham has a whole slew of a capp. or organ colla parte acc. Psalm
motets published by CF Peters. So does Alan Hovhaness w/CF Peters and AMP/G.
I also have written a Psalm 23 (SATB, Mz TTB soli, organ); a cantata on
Psalms 51 & 47 *Penitence & Jubilation* (SATB div, S solo, 2 pianos, 3 trpts,
3 hns, 3 trbs., timps,. perc.; never performed), a *May the Words* (Ps. 19
final verse) SATB a capp; and two Hebrew settings of *Hineh Mah Tov* (same
text as final chorale of Chichester); 1 SATBB, 1 SATB.
=================From: Harriet Simons
Vivaldi In Exitu Israel (Ps 114 &115)
Sweelinck Or soit loue lUEternel (Ps150)
Ives Ps. 90
Porpora Lauda Jerusalem (Ps147)
Mendelssohn In Deep Despair I call to Thee (Ps130)
Palestrina Sicut Cervus (Ps142)
Pachelbel Jauchzet dem Herrn
Schuetz Sing to the Lord a New Song (Ps. 98)
Mathias O Clap Your Hands (Ps. 46 & 47)
==================From: "Mark Zuckerman"
I'm also a great fan of Lili Boulanger's psalm settings, especially Psalm 129.
Tsvi Avni has some a cappella pslam settings in Hebrew which are moderately
challenging and quite beautiful.
===================From: Ray Fahrner
My favorites, pardon the bias, are by Ray Fahrner:
Psalm 131 A cappella chorus, SATB. Ca. 2'20
Psalm 98 A cappella chorus, SATB. Ca. 2'15
Psalm 13 A cappella chorus, SATB. Ca.4'20
Psalm 55. Chorus, SAB, and piano. Ca. 2'40
All contemporary, but accessible. 131 is neo-Renaissance, and, if I
don't say so myself, particularly successful. The first three were
written as a set, but may be performed individually. Psalm 55 is easy.
I'll be happy to provide examination copies, if you or anyone else is
Coordinator, Choral & Vocal Music
Cleveland State University
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