Wednesday, February 25, 2015

40 Days of Chant, Psalm 7 and Coltrane Changes

As I read Psalm 7 this morning, John Coltranes Giant Steps came to mind.  I have loved his composition for a long time because it is both beautiful and has an edge at the same time.  It's like an Imperial Stout that has a deep rich malty flavor with just a hint of alcohol burn.  The chant below is not a direct quote of Giant Steps by any means.  However, it is inspired by the chromatic mediant relationships that Coltrane used.  It's probably the hardest one to sing that I have written so far, but I think it catches the beauty and edge of this psalm.

1 O Lord my God, I take refuge in you; *
     save and deliver me from all who pursue me;
2 Lest like a lion they tear me in pieces *
     and snatch me away with none to deliver me.

3 O Lord my God, if I have done these things: *
     if there is any wickedness in my hands,
4 If I have repaid my friend with evil, *
     or plundered him who without cause is my enemy;

5 Then let my enemy pursue and overtake me, *
     trample my life into the ground,
     and lay my honor in the dust.
6 Stand up, O Lord, in your wrath; *
     rise up against the fury of my enemies.

7 Awake, O my God, decree justice; *
     let the assembly of the peoples gather round you.
8 Be seated on your lofty throne, O Most High; *
     O Lord, judge the nations.

9 Give judgment for me according to my righteousness, O Lord, *
     and according to my innocence, O Most High.
10 Let the malice of the wicked come to an end,
     but establish the righteous; *
     for you test the mind and heart,
     O righteous God.

11 God is my shield and defense; *
     he is the savior of the true in heart.
12 God is a righteous judge; *
     God sits in judgment every day.

13 If they will not repent, God will whet his sword; *
     he will bend his bow and make it ready.
14 He has prepared his weapons of death; *
     he makes his arrows shafts of fire.

15 Look at those who are in labor with wickedness, *
     who conceive evil, and give birth to a lie.
16 They dig a pit and make it deep *
     and fall into the hole that they have made.

17 Their malice turns back upon their own head; *
     their violence falls on their own scalp.
18 I will bear witness that the Lord is righteous; *
     I will praise the Name of the Lord Most High

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