Jubilate Deo. 6′. 2019. SATB, organ. Psalm 100, Latin. Commissioned by Ursinus College and dedicated to Dr. John French, on the occasion of his 40th anniversary of service to Ursinus College. Premiered 28 April 2019, Ursinus College Choir and Meistersingers, Alan Morrison, organ, conducted by John French. Available on MusicSpoke: Listen and see the entire score here.
A few years ago John French had told me a funny story about the delivery of Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms to Walter Hussey, Dean of Chichester Cathedral, who in 1965 had commissioned the work. John heard the story from Hussey himself. He had been waiting for the music—it was past deadline—so when the package finally arrived, and anxious to get it in front of the musicians, he hurriedly opened it up, only to find that Bernstein had set the words of the Psalms…in Hebrew.
Well, they brought someone in to coach them in a language they had never sung in, and the performance went well, but, lesson learned: Never assume.
When I sent Jubilate Deo to John, he called me and exploded in laughter. He was expecting, as any Anglican or Episcopalian musician would—whose lingua franca routinely includes Nuncs and Mags—a Jubilate in English. I, having never been Episcopalian (although some of my best friends are) knew only that a “Jubilate Deo” was requested, and so I set it in Latin.
We couldn’t believe that neither of us had learned the lesson the good Dean of Chichester had tried to teach us.
So this is a Jubilate Deo in Latin, of medium difficulty. Sung twice at the premiere concert, to open and close it, although I had suggested to John that the second airing could be done—if he liked, it’d be fine with me—in Hebrew.
Here’s a recording of John French leading the choir at the Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia:
Jubilate Deo, omnis terra;
Servite Domino in lætitia. Introite in conspectu ejus in exsultatione.
Scitote quoniam Dominus ipse est Deus;
ipse fecit nos, et non ipsi nos:
populus ejus, et oves pascuæ ejus.
Introite portas ejus in confessione;
atria ejus in hymnis:
conﬁtemini illi. Laudate nomen ejus,
quoniam suavis est Dominus, in æternum misericordia ejus,
et usque in generationem et generationem veritas ejus.
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the Lord he is God:
it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.