In continuing our ongoing new series “Looking Back:” albums from Reference Recordings’ past, we are taking the opportunity to feature a 1999 release that is particularly appropriate for the current Holy Week holidays — Psalms, featuring the Turtle Creek Chorale.
In the continual search for repertoire appropriate to a large male chorus, our attention turned toward the multi-faceted texts of the Psalms. Over the past 3,000 years, much has been written about the historical significance of these incredible texts. Theological and literary scholars have studied through the ages. According to the Harvard Dictionary of Music, “The Book of Psalms has been, no doubt, the most influential single source of text in all musical history.” it is the oldest prayer book, hymn book collection of religious poetry in Western civilization and is still used today by both Jews and Christians.
From the beginning, the Psalms were probably composers for choral use with instrumental accompaniment. The Greek word psalmoi means “songs accompanied by string instruments” and vestigial choral and orchestral directions are still to be found in the Psalter telling the choirmaster which tune to use, or which instruments.
Those seemed good enough reasons to focus our sights on this rich source of the texts. The Psalms describe our lives as poignantly and perfectly as they’d ascribe the lives of those persecuted peoples three thousand years ago. They describe the longing of the soul to find meaning in a world that seems bent on eliminating an entire people. As we began to read and search, the texts paralleled our lives and painted pictures of our own struggles and victories over them. In this age of persecution of gay and lesbian people and in this age of AIDS that could be described as an Old Testament plauge, we connected immediately with what we were singing. We have walked together through the “valley of the shadow of death” and we are emerging with a new hope and a new vision, just as the people did 3,000 years ago.” – Excerpts of the Psalms booklet notes by Timothy Seelig
Psalm 47: Clap Your Hands by Nancy Roberts:
Clap your hands, ye people, clap your hands,
Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
Clap your hands! Shout for joy! Hallelujah!
Sing praises to our God, lift your voice and sing.
Sing praises to our God, He is our King.
“The Absolute Sound Super Disc List”
SING HALLELUJAH! The ancient wisdom of the Psalms has been inspiration for great composers for 3000 years. A unique program of world-premiere recordings is by living composers, many of whom have a long-standing relationship with the Turtle Creek Chorale. The world-renowned group performs with pipe organ, harp, brass and percussion ensemble in one of “Prof.” Johnson’s greatest sonic triumphs. Be prepared for goose-bumps!