Psalm 67

for mixed choir

The afterglow of Ešenvalds’ engagement with the Anglican choral tradition, as could be experienced on a daily basis during his time in Cambridge, can be heard in Psalm 67, premiered by Stephen Layton and Polyphony in Amsterdam in 2012. Twice a solo baritone chant replete with the characteristic cadence of countless versicles (a deliberate allusion or an unconscious borrowing?) is answered by the full choir in chordal writing of questing, shifting tonality. This is the most chromatic music on this recording — a music of mingled praise and apprehension. At the close of the piece the baritone’s chanted melody returns, again with its occasional octave doubling by sopranos and altos — an especially subtle bit of voicing—but this time anchored by a sustained chord of E flat. The last word of the piece is simply ‘God’ — the voice of supplication distilled to a single syllable.

— from notes by Gabriel Jackson © 2015

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Year
2012
Commissioner
Soli Deo Gloria Inc (US) for Stephen Layton, Polyphony and The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge
Instrumentation
Bar solo, SSAATTBB
Lyrics
Psalm 67
Language
English
Duration
5 min 30 sec
Premiere
World Premiere: Polyphony and Stephen Layton, conductor, 10 November 2012, The Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands / UK Premiere: The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge and Stephen Layton, conductor, 18 November 2012, Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge, UK / US Premiere: St Bartholomew’s Chamber Choir and William K Trafka, conductor, 5 May 2013, St Barthlomew’s Episcopal Church, New York, NY
Score
ISMN
979-0-69795-297-3 (MB1380)
Recordings
The Choir of Trinity College CambridgeNorthern Lights & other choral works