Psalm 17

When I composed the Audubon Park Psalter, my intention was that most all of the settings would be flexible enough to work in a traditional setting with organ and choir as well as a more contemporary setting with piano and guitar. While I have attempted to make recordings of the Contemporary Group at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen before, because I have been the one at the piano, it has been difficult to capture anything remotely balanced. This week, I was able to be out in the congregation, so captured the psalm while standing next to a pillar. Here’s the resulting video:

What I really appreciate is being able to hear the people sing, even though this is a new piece for them.

I also captured the psalm at the 11:00 Mass with the choir and organ:

Psalm 40 Blues

The Old Testament reading for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C is the story of Jeremiah being thrown into a cistern where he is expected to sink into the mud and die. The Responsorial Psalm that follows is a set of verses from Psalm 40 with the refrain, “Lord, come to my aid.” When I first encountered this set of readings back in 1995, the most obvious musical idea was to make it a 12-bar blues. It was a little bit of a stretch to get the verses and refrain to line up consistently, but perhaps more of a stretch to do the premier on a little two-manual German baroque style organ!

As the setting only appears once every three years, I don’t really know how often or where I’ve been able to do it since then. Many times, this pushes the envelope of what is accepted or expected for music in the churches I have served. There is a contemporary group at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, and I’ve heard some requests for some more modern music, so I put it on the schedule this year. Here’s the video from the 9:30 am Mass on 14 August 2016:

A child decided it was time to play with the kneelers during verse three. It would have been great to have some well-timed percussion, but sometimes you just take what you get.

Note: This is not included in the Audubon Park Psalter, though it could show up in a later volume of more contemporary/gospel/jazz psalm settings.

Psalm 103 – the Lord Is Kind and Merciful

Recorded live 2 April 2016 (iPhone)
Cathedral of Mary Our Queen

Psalm 103 with the response “The Lord is kind and merciful,” appears several times in the lectionary cycle. This was recorded at a wedding, so the small congregation is hard to hear. Only two verses are included in this video because the lack of memory on my iPhone prevented me from capturing the entire psalm setting.

The music for this piece is found in Audubon Park Psalter – Weddings and Funerals.

Like a Deer – Psalm 42

As one of my primary interests is improvisation, I am always looking for ways to include improvisation in the liturgy. Here is a responsorial psalm built over a simple two-chord progression. The refrain melody is composed to fit over the chords, and while there are verses written out in the score, the cantor (as demonstrated here) is free to improvise the melody for each of the verses.

This video was recorded at the Easter Vigil which begins in darkness, so the lighting is very dim. Sadly, my iPhone ran out of memory, so I am only able to share the first verse here.

The music for this composition is included in the Feasts and Solemnities volume of the Audubon Park Psalter.

Psalm 118 for Easter Day

Recorded with my iPhone, this performance of Psalm 118 – This Is the Day – is from the 11am Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore. Brass quartet plays the choral parts on the refrain.

The music for this composition is included in the Feasts and Solemnities volume of the Audubon Park Psalter.

Psalm 89 Chrism Mass

The Chrism Mass is the annual celebration where the archbishop blesses the oils for use throughout the archdiocese and the priests renew their vows of service. It is one of the events that generally fills the Cathedral every year. As with other special diocesan celebrations, these are people that have chosen to be here, so are willing to sing and participate. Here’s the responsorial psalm (from the Audubon Park Psalter)recorded by my iPhone placed on the organ console in the balcony. Brass are to my right. Choir is on the left, and the cantor is in the pulpit half-way down the building.

The music for this composition is included in the Feasts and Solemnities volume of the Audubon Park Psalter.

Vexilla Regis Duo

This is my first video recorded at the Cathedral of Mary, Our Queen in Baltimore. There are two identical consoles for the organ at the cathedral and pipes at each end of the building. This excerpt from my Suite in French Classical Style on Vexilla Regis was recorded from the console in the sanctuary using only pipes from the gallery. Watch carefully to notice the delay between my fingers and the audio!

Chorale and Festive Flourish

These two movements for organ and brass quintet were written for the wedding of my wife’s brother. The Chorale was written for the entrance procession, beginning quietly with a dramatic build for the entrance of the bride. The Festive Flourish was written for the recessional and is a joyous march with toccata figuration for the organ at the end.

The trailer from the wedding includes an excerpt from the Chorale.

Watch! Take care! Your hearts prepare!

Written for SATB Choir, unaccompanied, this piece is a setting of and Advent text by John Dalles based upon Mark 13:33-37. It will be premiered during the season of Advent by the Basilica Choir under the direction of William Picher. Scores will be available for purchase after the premier.