Three Psalms (2002)


For SATB chorus and solo violin. Premiered in its entirety on Sunday, November 17, 2002 at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (a.k.a. Mission Church), Boston; The Seraphim Singers, Jennifer Lester, conductor; Lori Everson, violin. Commissioned by the Seraphim Singers.


The History of Three Psalms

The idea for Three Psalms evolved from a discussion in the summer of 2001 between the composer and Boston-based choral conductor, Jennifer Lester. This initial discussion resulted in a commission by The Seraphim Singers of a single psalm setting for the ensemble's 2001-2002 concert season. The first movement (Psalm 121) was completed in October 2001 and was premiered the following month. Although the original scope of the project was only one psalm setting, the composer conceived it as the first setting of cycle of three. The latter two movements (Psalm 67 and Psalm 23) were completed the following year, and the entire cycle received its premiere by the Seraphim Singers in Boston on November 17, 2002. In 2003, Psalm 121 won first prize in the Roger Wagner Contemporary Choral Composition Competition. It was published by Gentry Publications the following year. The work is available through Hal Leonard.

Although Three Psalms is intended to be performed together as a cycle in a concert setting (there are strong key relationships among the three movements, and the closing cadences lead from the end of one movement to the beginning of the next), each of the three psalm movements can stand alone in performance. Each of the movements can lend itself well to the context of a church or temple service. The work premiered with a complement of 28 singers. However, the size of the vocal ensemble can vary from quartet up to fairly large chorus (there is only one divisi in the entire cycle that appears in the alto part at the end of the last movement—a single note that can be taken by the violin).