Musical Settings of Responsorial Psalms
  • lbowman
    Posts: 4
    Hi, all.

    I'm looking for settings of the responsorial psalms. I know there are dozens out there, if not more, but I'll give some background that may help narrow the search a little.

    We have been using the St. Noel Chabanel psalms from I was fine with them at my last parish, as they were simple, and the congregation could pick them up without having a printed copy in their hands (we had the St. Michael Hymnal and one of the disposable missalettes in the pews, and I wasn't going to spend time and money printing booklets every week).

    My new choir at another parish doesn't like them. These guys are formally trained singers (mostly), and some of them are looking for something a little nicer/more difficult/whatever. One of them suggested the Gather psalms included in the original (green cover) Gather hymnal. Now, normally, I'd say sure thing, if you like them better from a musical standpoint, okay fine. But then I took a good look at them, and the text is horrific. Whoever changed those words around needs to have his head handed to him (especially for the Christmas responsorial psalm. I nearly had a heart attack). Musically, okay fine. I'm good with it. But that text is a deal breaker.

    I've been thinking of trying an Anglican chant version (thank you to that thread on this forum, too), but I'm not sure how well that would go over.

    Any help with finding a new set to use that would satisfy my new choir would be much appreciated. Thanks to all, and I'm looking forward to seeing what psalm settings everyone else likes. :)
  • Brian Michael Page has a lot at Christus Vincit music. They are wonderfully creative and colorful.
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  • Ibowman,

    Welcome to the comment side of the forum.

    Ask your trained singers what they're looking for in new music, but set out your requirements, too. Singing in parts (as Anglican Chant) is satisfying to some skilled singers, but others, calling themselves skilled, want the ego-gratifying stuff. I don't know Chabanel, but I would guess that it's neither glitzy nor in parts.

    You could introduce them to the Graduale Romanum. That's more challenging than what you've described. (Latin is often more challenging than English, but the dreadful rewriting of English into something less than beautiful English is merely unedifying, so it's the wrong kind of challenge.)
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  • davido
    Posts: 620
    A lot depends on the music taste you are trying to meet. The musical theatre style psalm paraphrases of Gather don’t really have an equal anywhere else.
    My perception is:
    - Cathedrals use the psalms from Worship hymnal
    - parishes use Respond and Acclaim
    - Tradition minded folks use Chabanel or Royce Nickel’s psalms (also on Chabanel site)
    - contemporary crowd (80s/90s) uses Gather

    There is a set from ILP that is in all their books but the quality ranges from uneven to atrocious.

    GIA has the Guimont set which are kinda jazzy.

    GIA also has the Cry Out with Joy set that are by people published in Gather hymnal, but with the official psalm texts.

    I have a set adapted to the Meinrad tones (mostly complete):

    Also a smattering (not a full set) in a more choral style meant to replace Respond and Acclaim at my current parish:
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,811

    This guy does quality work. Look him up.
  • cmb
    Posts: 70
    The Sam Schmitt ones on the Chabanel site might have an appeal. The first half of the verses are in plainchant and the second half in falsobordone for some added interest.

    There is also an upcoming revision of Theodore Marier psalms with the new psalm translations (yes, another new translation …), which also uses the falsobordone style.

    The Boston Cathedral has been using them, so hopefully publication is coming soon. Here's a sample from their YouTube channel:
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