Anglican Psalmody

Discussion in 'Liturgy, and Book of Common Prayer' started by Toma, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Dearly beloved,

    There are three forms of liturgical music in classical Anglicanism: anthem, hymn, and psalm. The anthem is virtuosic and choir-centered (i.e. Worthy is the Lamb; Blessed be the God and Father). The hymn is melodic and congregation-centered (i.e. O God, our help in ages past; Rock of Ages). The psalm is a mysterious chanted version 1 out of the 150.

    I purpose to make this thread a compilation of the best Anglican psalmody, not only promoting of the 'beauty of holiness', but for a good list of psalms that are available for hearing on Youtube! They should be of such good quality that they may be understood. To get to each video, just click the title of "Psalm X".

    Psalm 8 set to a chant by William Lawes (1602-1645)
    Psalm 12 set to a chant found in The Parish Psalter (1559)
    Psalm 22 set to a chant found in The Parish Psalter (1559)
    Psalm 23 set to a chant by Charles Hylton Stewart (1884–1932)
    Psalm 43 set to a chant by James Turle (1802-1882)
    Psalm 51 set to a chant found in The Parish Psalter (1559)
    Psalm 62 set to a chant by an unknown composer (please help to identify)
    Psalm 65 set to a chant by Ivor Algernon Atkins (1869-1953)
    Psalm 67 set to a chant by Edward Bairstow (1874-1946)
    Psalm 84 set to a chant by an unknown composer (please help to identify)
    Psalm 91 set to a chant by an unknown composer (please help to identify)
    Psalm 93 set to a chant by George Garrett (1834-1897)
    Psalm 94 set to a chant found in The Parish Psalter (1559)
    Psalm 104 (part 1) set to a chant by an unknown composer (please help to identify)
    Psalm 121 set to a chant by Henry Walford Davies (1869-1941)
    Psalm 130 set to a chant found in The Parish Psalter (1559)
    Psalm 131 set to a chant by David Willcocks (born 1919)
    Psalm 137 set to a chant by Charles Harford Lloyd? (1849-1919)
    Psalm 138 set to a chant by an unknown composer (please help to identify)
    Psalm 149 set to a chant by Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924)
    Psalm 150 set to a chant by Robert Philip Goodenough (1776-1826)

    Note to Moderators: Not sure if this should be in Arts & Music, or Sacraments & Liturgy, since Psalmody itself is very liturgical.
     
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  2. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    interesting hearing the anglican style of psalmody. Does the congregation typically sing or only the choir in anglican churches?
     
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  3. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    From what I gather, the choir tends to chant it... the music fills the space like a mystical prayer, allowing quiet beauty to wash over the congregation. Logically, though, if there is a book called "the Parish Psalter", one could imagine that it was for the people in the pews as much as those in the quire.
     
  4. Scottish Monk

    Scottish Monk Well-Known Member

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  5. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    Here in Australia in the churches I have attended the congregation was always involved in the chanting of psalms at all sung services, and followed using the psalms in the prayer book. Those of us in choir had the psalter to follow the music of the chant especially when singing the different parts.
     
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  6. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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    SK,

    In our Parish, there are times when only the choir sings and times when congregation and choir sing together. The Gradual Psalm involves a cantor from the choir and responses sung by the congregation.

    The Priest (Celebrant) chants certain parts of the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist. On certain Holy Days, most of the service is sung or chanted. We are considered very "High Church" and Anglo Catholic.

    There are "Low Church" Parishes, especially in more Reformed Traditions, which are much less formal- at least that's what I hear. I haven't actually attended a "Low Church" Episcopal Parish. So, I'm open to correction. :)

    Anna
     
  7. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    For many years the St. Peter in Parish of Wynnum here in Australia had what we referred to as a Sung Eucharist (once a month), Matins and Evensong (morning and evening prayer) were always sung/chanted. The only spoken word was the sermon... and of course the announcement of hymns and psalms.
     
  8. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    Anglican Chant (as in the excellent links posted by Remembrance) is essentially choral music of Cathedral tradition rather than music for congregational use. The Victorians had a liking for imitating Cathedral traditions in parish churches so they introduced robed choirs and the singing of Anglican Chant, Anthems etc.

    Sadly, in England, many smaller parish churches no longer have choirs so the singing of Anglican Chant in such places is becoming less common. It's quite difficult for a congregation to sing the Psalms to Anglican Chant especially without a choir leading because it's an unmetered or irregular method of singing. Singers really need to have a book of Psalms pointed for singing (so they know when to change note) rather than say a 1662 BCP. It's still quite common here for the Canticles from Mattins and Evensong to be sung to AC in smaller churches. These are easier for the congregation to sing as the words become so familiar and can be sung to a handful of familiar chants.

    Prior to perhaps the mid 19th Century it was common for metrical versions of the Psalms to be sung in parish churches. These are paraphrases of the Psalms in fixed meter so they can be sung like regular hymns. It was quite common back in those days for the BCP to be bound together with a metrical psalter such as those by Sternhold & Hopkins or Brady & Tate.

    Metrical Psalms (and Canticles) seem to be making a bit of a comeback in churches without choirs here. At my church (no choir) we sing the Canticles to Anglican Chant and the Psalms in metrical versions to familiar hymn tunes. Anna has mentioned responsorial Psalms where a Cantor sings the verses and the congregation sings a fixed refrain or response. These are quite popular here for the Gradual.

    I love going to Evensong at the Cathedral during the week as we sit in the Canon's stalls in the Choir. There is something truly beautiful and meditative about an excellent choir singing the Psalms to Anglican Chant. Together with Coverdale's translation it's just stunning.
     
  9. Scottish Monk

    Scottish Monk Well-Known Member

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    Tell us more.

    ...Scottish Monk
     
  10. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    This was the first one I learnt to sing all the male voice parts including the counter tenor part.

     
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  11. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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    Symphorian,
    Beautiful post. Thank you so much!
    Anna
     
  12. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    We tend to associate the singing of psalms in the CofE with Anglican Chant but metrical psalmody was prevalent in most parish churches until well into the 19th Century. Metrical psalmody in the CofE started during the reign of Edward VI. Thomas Sternhold, a Member of Parliament and a groom of the Royal Wardrobe wrote a number of metrical psalms which the young King encouraged him to publish. John Hopkins, a clergyman and schoolmaster added to the collection. They became immediately popular, grew in number and became known as 'The Whole Booke of Psalmes' (aka 'Sternhold & Hopkins' or 'The Old Version'). It was later rivaled by 'The New Version' (aka 'Brady & Tate') in 1696 by Nahum Tate, Poet Laureate and Nicholas Brady, a clergyman, poet and author. Both collections went through numerous reprints. The Old Version has a pithy quality whilst the New Version is more refined.

    There were several other metrical psalters published with tunes provided by well known English composers. Archbishop Parker wrote a metrical psalter ('Whole Psalter') in 1567 for which Thomas Tallis wrote a number of tunes. Probably the best known of which is 'Tallis' Canon' which is now sung to the hymn 'Glory to Thee, my God, this night'. It is interesting that metrical psalms were used in the way we use hymns nowadays. (Hymn singing in the CofE was of questionable legality until about 1820). The metrical versions didn't replace the proper psalms appointed for the day which were normally read alternately between the priest and the parish clerk.

    Metrical Psalters here:

    http://www.cgmusic.org/workshop/

    other resources here:

    http://www.bristol.anglican.org/ministry/worship/index.html

    I much prefer psalms sung to Anglican Chant or plainsong but outside of Cathedrals and larger parish churches its use is not so widespread these days. Fewer churches have regular Mattins or Evensong to keep the tradition going and it's difficult for smaller parishes to maintain choirs. Anglican Chant is quite difficult to sing well so metrical versions are a good way for smaller parishes to sing the psalms.
     
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  13. Scottish Monk

    Scottish Monk Well-Known Member

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    Everyone...

    Thank you ever so much for the information on the singing of Psalms. I have a very small collection of Psalters. Unfortunately, I do not have any of the traditional Anglican Psalters--except for the Book of Common Prayer, 1662. The links everyone provided are most appreciated. I am on the lookout for additional printed psalters to add to my collection. I appreciate any suggestions for locating Anglican Psalters.

    I am thinking about starting a thread on Anglican hymnals, as I have begun to collect those also.

    ...Scottish Monk

    *****

    Here are the Psalters I currently have on my shelf.


    The Abbey Psalter: The book of Psalms used by the Trappist Monks of Genesee Abbey. (1981). New York: Paulist Press. [The Grail translation, set in calligraphy large font.].

    Illustrated Psalms of the Jerusalem Bible. (1977). New York: Doubleday & Company. [Jerusalem Bible translation.].

    The Book of Psalms. (1993). New York: Dover Publications. [King James Version.].

    Scottish Metrical Psalter: Psalms of David in metre. (2007). Point Roberts, WA: Eremitical Press. [Scottish Metrical Psalter of 1650.].

    The Psalms: A New Translation: Singing Version. (1963). New York: Paulist Press. [Grail translation, arranged for singing to the psalmody of Joseph Gelineua.].

    The Book of Psalms with an Interlinear Translation: Artscroll / The Schottenstein Edition. (2001). Brooklyn: NY: Mesorah Publications. [Hebrew text with English translation, notes.].

    The Book of Psalms: A new translation according to the traditional Hebrew text. (1997). Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society. [English translation, JPS.].

    The Book of Common Prayer, 1662. (2006). Cambridge Bibles. [Cambridge enlarged edition.]. [Also 1928 BCP, 1929 Scottish BCP, & 1979 Episcopal BCP.].

     
  14. SeanD

    SeanD New Member

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    My first post - apologies in resurrecting this very old thread. I have been trying for some time (without any luck) to locate the score/music for the arrangement of Psalm 67 (by Sir Edward Bairstow) that is found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5BuNI9X1QU&frags=pl,wn

    This is also the arrangement that was performed at the 1947 wedding of the Queen.

    I would be most grateful if anyone can point me in the direction of the music score as I hope to have this performed at my wedding next year.
     
  15. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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  16. SeanD

    SeanD New Member

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    Dear Symphorian,

    You shall truly be blessed - thank you so much for this quick and accurate response. I played the midi version (as I myself am not too good at reading scores) and it is indeed the music for this wonderful arrangement. Thank you again!
     
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  17. Tiffy

    Tiffy Member Anglican

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    Brilliant. Thanks for this. Wonderful. Brought back many happy memories. Have sung 2 parts in this chant. As Trebble and Tenor over the years. Great chant, from Martin Luther. Very effective in unison verses 7 and 11. I have always particularly liked singing this psalm, especially the BCP version of the words, which are far more poetically powerful that the KJV or any other 'modern' versions.

    The Psalter pre dates KJV by 100 years or more, being translated by Coverdale. And wonderfully expressive language it is too.

    Compare KJV v.3:
    Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled,
    though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

    With BCP v.3 Though the waters thereof rage and swell : and
    though the mountains shake at the tempest of the same.

    So much more rhythmic. Such a better ending to the verse when it is sung.

    And what about KJV v.9:
    He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth;
    he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder;
    he burneth the chariot in the fire.

    With the more singable BCP v.9
    He maketh wars to cease in all the world :
    he breaketh the bow, and knappeth the spear in sunder,
    and burneth the chariots in the fire.

    I love 'knappeth'! Not a word I got any opportunity to use at any other time. I get a picture in my mind of Jesus wading onto the field of battle and snapping spears over his knee with both hands, right left and centre, and tossing them in a heap, with derision.

    And then we get the most ignorantly misquoted verse in the entire Bible. V.10. How often have you seen posters of verdant pastures, weeping willows and placid waters, carrying the soothing quotation:

    "Be still then, and know that I am God" missing out the rest of the verse and taking it entirely out of context.
    "I will be exulted among the heathen, and I will be exulted in the earth."

    This is God saying "Enough is enough", "Stop your fussing and fighting", "It ends now". Nothing placid or peaceful about an intervention of that sort, I think.

    Bring it on Lord! It can't be too soon.
     

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