“Psalm” in Oakland

I am receiving a nice birthday present next week in the form of a performance on October 29 at Laney College in Oakland of my From Psalm 116 by Nanette McGuiness and Dale Tsang of Ensemble for These Times. The program also includes music by Kurt Erickson, John Harbison, Elena Ruehr, Melinda Wagner, David Garner, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and John Reager.

I wrote this setting of a psalm verse for an AIDS Quilt Songbook concert given by Orchestra 2001 in the mid-nineties. The Latin text is: “Pretiosa in conspectu Domini mors sanctorum ejus”. I suppose a literal translation would be something like “Precious in the sight of God is the death of His holy one”, but I prefer a slightly different version I came across somewhere: “Precious in the eyes of God is the death of His beloved.” Sheet Music Plus has the song available here and offers a look at the first page of the score. I later made use of my setting as part of a larger piece with ensemble, the baritone cycle Dark the Star. This is the piece that was done at Tanglewood this past summer. Here’s the baritone and ensemble version of the Psalm setting, taken from the Bridge recording of Dark the Star, with William Sharp, baritone, the 21st Century Consort and Christopher Kendall, conductor.

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