The Temple University Concert Choir sang my Psalm 113 last night, the second time this section of Vespers has been performed separately. The first time was when I transcribed it for mezzo-soprano soloist, two-part girlchoir, and piano. Lyric Fest commissioned that transcription as part of Two Laudate Psalms, for Suzanne DuPlantis and the Pennsylvania Girlchoir.
Psalm 113 is originally for S.A.T.B. with two sackbuts and harp. Here’s an excerpt:
I made a piano reduction of all of Vespers, and it’s with this piano accompaniment that Paul Jones conducted the Temple forces. It was wonderfully done. I was touched by how much the singers said they enjoyed it, and by how much Paul had them floating on top of the chant rhythms.
Also on the concert were works of Palestrina, Monteverdi, Carissimi, Duruflé, and the Schicksalslied of Brahms. Three of the supple Partsongs of Gerald Finzi stood out to me. Their brilliance reminded me of “All this night,” which I sang way back in high school, and I am always surprised at how astonishing his music is. I suppose it’s silly, always to be surprised by the same thing.
But doesn’t Spring always do that, too?
“Wake, O earth, wake everything!”