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New Choral Psalms
by Michael Reid Winikoff

For Mixed Choir SATB div. a cappella                               
Singing Text in English or Hebrew


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A dazzling, sometimes brooding, awe-infused rendering of this, arguably the most "musical" of all the psalms.  The exuberant textual imagery of musical instruments, dance and song make this one of the most popular sacred texts for musical setting. 

This brilliantly colored setting, which demands ample choral resources and an accomplished ensemble effort, will be highly arresting as a concert work.  It showcases chromaticism and counterpoint, as well as the art of musical depiction of, in this case, musical things.

After a solemnly tinted opening announcement of the ubiquitous "Hallelujah", there begins a broodingly chromatic theme taken first by basses, then additionally layered by tenor, then alto, and finally soprano.  As this largely homophonic "fugue" builds in its deliberate fashion, the harmonic sonorities grow in their complexity.  The next section depicts the clarion horns in parallel upward phrases and the tritone chord relations that are emblematic of this music, and the tension releases to a lyrical legato over arpeggio-like effects in the lower voices.  A compelling dance-like ostinato rhythm reveals itself, against another sustained chromatic theme in the upper voices.  This dance builds to fever pitch with chromatic crashing cymbols, reaching its apex on the grandiose statement "All they that breathe now praise the Lord."  This high point slowly dies away, only to revive in a second more exuberant and complex fugue, followed by a brilliant final flourish.