Monday, April 11, 2011

Anglican Chant XIII: Psalm 40

"Sung during Choral Evensong at Trinity Cathedral (Episcopal) in Cleveland, Ohio March 24, 2010 Trinity Chamber Singers Horst Buchholz, Choirmaster Todd Wilson, Organist"

This time, the text comes from the 1979 BCP Psalter:
Expectans, expectavi

1  I waited patiently upon the LORD; *

he stooped to me and heard my cry.

2  He lifted me out of the desolate pit, out of the mire and clay; *

he set my feet upon a high cliff and made my footing sure.

3  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; *

many shall see, and stand in awe, and put their trust in the LORD.

4  Happy are they who trust in the LORD! *

they do not resort to evil spirits or turn to false gods.

5  Great things are they that you have done, O LORD my God!

how great your wonders and your plans for us! *

there is none who can be compared with you.

6  Oh, that I could make them known and tell them! *

but they are more than I can count.

7  In sacrifice and offering you take no pleasure *

(you have given me ears to hear you);

8  Burnt-offering and sin-offering you have not required, *

and so I said, "Behold, I come.

9 In the roll of the book it is written concerning me: *

I love to do your will, O my God; your law is deep in my heart.'"

10 I proclaimed righteousness in the great congregation; *

behold, I did not restrain my lips; and that, O LORD, you know.

11 Your righteousness have I not hidden in my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your deliverance; *

I have not concealed your love and faithfulness from the great congregation.


Stephen said...

Why would they change the third person the second person? Is there any Biblical basis for that?

bls said...

They're singing directly to God - I would imagine to avoid the repeated use of the male pronoun.

I'm not sure why anybody would need a "Biblical basis" for doing this, though; hundreds of metrical psalters have been written for centuries, with all kinds of varying translations.

For an example, here's part of Psalm 130, written for a metrical Psalter in the mid 1500s:

From depth of sin and from a deep despair,
From depth of death, from depth of heart's sorrow
From this deep cave, of darkness deep repair,

To thee have I called, O Lord, to be my borrow.
Thou in my voice, O Lord, perceive and hear
My heart, my hope, my plaint, my overthrow. . . .

You can also see about a dozen different translations of Psalm 24 at this page about metrical Psalters, including this one from the 18th century:

The earth is all the Lord's, with all
her store and furniture;
Yea, his is all the work, and all
that therein doth endure:

For he hath fastly founded it
above the seas to stand,
And placed below the liquid floods,
to flow beneath the land.

Hildegard von Bingen did it a lot, too, even further back, in the 11th century. And there is plenty of modern praise music that uses rewrites of Psalms, too. So I'm not sure why this particular thing should require a "Biblical basis."

The re-written version is a lot milder than that last one I quoted, and does no violence to the text. I actually quite like the idea of singing directly to God, anyway - a venerable Psalmic tradition.


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