Wednesday, March 4, 2015

40 Days of Chant Psalms 12 and 13

So I forgot to write a psalm last night.  I am making it up to night with both Psalms 12 and 13.
Psalm 12 is another Psalm where the author pleads for God to destroy his/her enemies.  Unlike psalm 13 and others it stays angry and doesn't switch to a positive tone.  So, I tried to write psalm 12 in an atonal style.  It's risky, but I think it works.

 1 Help me, Lord, for there is no godly one left; *
 the faithful have vanished from among us.
 2 Everyone speaks falsely with his neighbor; *
 with a smooth tongue they speak from a double heart.
 3 Oh, that the Lord would cut off all smooth tongues, *
 and close the lips that utter proud boasts!
 4 Those who say, “With our tongue will we prevail; *
 our lips are our own; who is lord over us?”
 5 “Because the needy are oppressed, and the poor cry out in misery, *
 I will rise up,” says the Lord, “and give them the help they long for.”
 6 The words of the Lord are pure words, *
 like silver refined from ore and purified seven times in the fire.
 7 O Lord, watch over us *
 and save us from this generation for ever.
 8 The wicked prowl on every side, *
 and that which is worthless is highly prized by everyone.

Psalm 13 is one of despair that turns to praise.  I wrote a choral anthem to this text a few years ago.  I used descending minor thirds to construct that piece; so I used descending thirds in this chant too.

1How long, O LORD?
will you forget me for ever? *
    how long will you hide your face from me?

2How long shall I have perplexity in my mind,
and grief in my heart, day after day? *
    how long shall my enemy triumph over me?

3Look upon me and answer me, O LORD my God; *
    give light to my eyes, lest I sleep in death;
4Lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed over him," *
    and my foes rejoice that I have fallen.

5But I put my trust in your mercy; *
    my heart is joyful because of your saving help.
6I will sing to the LORD, for he has dealt with me richly; *
    I will praise the Name of the Lord Most High.

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