Thirteen (a psalm)

THIRTEEN (a psalm)
  • for: SATB Choir, piano, Bb clarinet, timpani, cello
  • duration: approx. 6:00
  • difficulty: moderately advanced
  • text: Psalm 13 (adapted)
  • music: Original

Psalm singing dates back at least to the time of King David. It was adopted as a primary musical form of the early church as evidenced by Col. 3:16 and was maintained in the Western church throughout Medieval times. Psalms were the featured texts of most of the Reformers and were the sole mode of sacred singing among the first American settlers. Unfortunately, Psalm singing became passé with 19th century revivalism and the adoption of popular music during the 20th century. THIRTEEN is one member of Robert Myers’s first suite of new Psalm settings, offered as a musical exposition of Scripture, to help the church bring Psalms back into modern worship.

The thirteenth Psalm contains a complaint, a petition, and a confession of faith in God. THIRTEEN portrays each of these sections with text painting appropriate to the psalmist’s words. A relentless, limping timpani beat undergirds the choir’s “how long” plea in the complaint. The petition is presented in a dissonant recitative which transitions through a shimmering tonal cluster into a joyful, major-key, confession of faith blended with a New Testament perspective from Eph. 3:20-21. THIRTEEN is moderately difficult but uses a very light orchestration in an effort to complement the vocal performance with rich instrumental color that can be easily programmed. It is well suited to advanced scholastic ensembles or adventurous church choirs.

Here’s my live recital choir creating the first performance of this work.

Watch for sheet music availability coming soon.  Click HERE for sample pages.

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