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.

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