Thursday, 14 May 2009

Sounding the Psalms

I had a thoroughly enjoyable day with the Baptist ministers in Hertfordshire, 'Sounding the Psalms', reflecting on music and the psalms. I spoke about music, then about the psalms, and for the rest of the day we listened to a wide range of musical settings of the psalms as well as some pieces of music that are what I call 'psalmic'. 

What was particularly encouraging was the way in which people responded with enthusiasm in such varied and interesting ways. People shared movingly about their personal experience of particular pieces of music; they related how the music affected them as we listened; we thought very specifically about the relationship of words to music; they shared rich and unexpected insights; and in particular we discussed the darker side of music, which follows on from a previous blog. 

I used Walter Bruggemann's framework of psalms of orientation, disorientation and new orientation, and to conclude the afternoon, we listened to Psalm 23 from Bernstein's Chichester Psalms. Psalm 23 is a psalm of new orientation, but the movement of the psalm corresponds in turn to all three types, especially with Bernstein's interpolation of Psalm 2 in the middle of the work, and subversively, under the final note.

It was a good day in excellent company, with a great lunch provided by London Colney Baptist Church - many thanks. It's a tough job you know!

1 comment:

pooter said...

Thanks again for the day, Geoff. Lots to ponder. I'm listening to Bernard Hermmann's "Fahrenheit 451" at the moment and feel some new orientation coming on!