Monday, March 30, 2015

40 Days of Chant, Psalm 35

Psalm 35 might be the angriest psalm that I have worked with so far.  Unlike other angry psalms this does not make a positive turn at the end.  I decided to write an atonal single chant.  Shooting for maximum dissonance this chant might be impossible to sing.  The choice of a single chant even though it is a long psalm is to intensify the dissonance of the music and the anger of the text.

1      Fight those who fight me, O Lord; *
     attack those who are attacking me.

2      Take up shield and armor *
     and rise up to help me.

3      Draw the sword and bar the way against those
who pursue me; *
     say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”

4      Let those who seek after my life be shamed and humbled; *
     let those who plot my ruin fall back and be dismayed.

5      Let them be like chaff before the wind, *
     and let the angel of the Lord drive them away.
6      Let their way be dark and slippery, *
     and let the angel of the Lord pursue them.

7      For they have secretly spread a net for me without a cause; *
     without a cause they have dug a pit to take me alive.

8      Let ruin come upon them unawares; *
     let them be caught in the net they hid;
     let them fall into the pit they dug.

9      Then I will be joyful in the Lord; *
     I will glory in his victory.

10    My very bones will say, “Lord, who is like you? *
     You deliver the poor from those who are too strong for them,
     the poor and needy from those who rob them.”

11    Malicious witnesses rise up against me; *
     they charge me with matters I know nothing about.

12    They pay me evil in exchange for good; *
     my soul is full of despair.

13    But when they were sick I dressed in sack‑cloth *
     and humbled myself by fasting;

14    I prayed with my whole heart,
as one would for a friend or a brother; *
     I behaved like one who mourns for his mother,
     bowed down and grieving.

15    But when I stumbled, they were glad and gathered together;
they gathered against me; *
     strangers whom I did not know tore me to pieces and
would not stop.

16    They put me to the test and mocked me; *
     they gnashed at me with their teeth.
17    O Lord, how long will you look on? *
     rescue me from the roaring beasts,
     and my life from the young lions.

18    I will give you thanks in the great congregation; *
     I will praise you in the mighty throng.

19    Do not let my treacherous foes rejoice over me, *
     nor let those who hate me without a cause
wink at each other.

20    For they do not plan for peace, *
     but invent deceitful schemes against the
quiet in the land.

21    They opened their mouths at me and said, *
     “Aha! we saw it with our own eyes.”

22    You saw it, O Lord; do not be silent; *
     O Lord, be not far from me.

23    Awake, arise, to my cause! *
     to my defense, my God and my Lord!

24    Give me justice, O Lord my God,
according to your righteousness; *
     do not let them triumph over me.

25    Do not let them say in their hearts,
“Aha! just what we want!” *
     Do not let them say, “We have swallowed him up.”

26    Let all who rejoice at my ruin be ashamed and disgraced; *
     let those who boast against me be clothed with
dismay and shame.

27    Let those who favor my cause sing out with joy and be glad; *
     let them say always, “Great is the Lord,
     who desires the prosperity of his servant.”
28    And my tongue shall be talking of your righteousness *
     and of your praise all the day long.

40 Days of Chant, Psalm 34

1      I will bless the Lord at all times; *
     his praise shall ever be in my mouth.

2      I will glory in the Lord; *
     let the humble hear and rejoice.

3      Proclaim with me the greatness of the Lord; *
     let us exalt his Name together.
4      I sought the Lord, and he answered me *
     and delivered me out of all my terror.

5      Look upon him and be radiant, *
     and let not your faces be ashamed.

6      I called in my affliction and the Lord heard me *
     and saved me from all my troubles.

7      The angel of the Lord encompasses those who fear him, *
     and he will deliver them.

8      Taste and see that the Lord is good; *
     happy are they who trust in him!

9      Fear the Lord, you that are his saints, *
     for those who fear him lack nothing.

10    The young lions lack and suffer hunger, *
     but those who seek the Lord lack nothing that is good.

11    Come, children, and listen to me; *
     I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

12    Who among you loves life *
     and desires long life to enjoy prosperity?

13    Keep your tongue from evil‑speaking *
     and your lips from lying words.

14    Turn from evil and do good; *
     seek peace and pursue it.

15    The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, *
     and his ears are open to their cry.

16    The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, *

     to root out the remembrance of them from the earth.
17    The righteous cry, and the Lord hears them *
     and delivers them from all their troubles.

18    The Lord is near to the brokenhearted *
     and will save those whose spirits are crushed.

19    Many are the troubles of the righteous, *
     but the Lord will deliver him out of them all.

20    He will keep safe all his bones; *
     not one of them shall be broken.

21    Evil shall slay the wicked, *
     and those who hate the righteous will be punished.

22    The Lord ransoms the life of his servants, *
     and none will be punished who trust in him.