FROM THE COMPOSER ABOUT THE MUSIC:
These Choral Psalm settings are part of my response to having come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in 1987. My musical approach is heavily contrapuntal and employs many traditional techniques. The bulk of these were recorded by the Slovak National Orchestra under Kirk Trevor along with the Lucnica Choir.
Psalm 125, about the Lord's protection of His people, is scored for SATB chorus and orchestra minus Trumpets and Trombones. The Tango-ish beat adds to the Psalm's feeling of calm reassurance and strength.
Psalm 139 concerns the awesome mystery of God and our submission to Him despite our lack of understanding for Him. It is complex in that it covers a range of subjects, thus the use of solo Tenor, and more variety in musical treatment. The orchestra is the same as in Psalm 125.
Psalm 113, again with the same orchestration, is an extroverted praising Psalm, and the text, "Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high" gave rise to a choral fugue.
Psalm 114, for full orchestra (brass included), is about the power of God and His residence in Judah. It also contains a choral fugue on the words, "The mountains skipped like rams, and the hills like lambs".
Psalm 146, another strongly praise oriented Psalm (for full orchestra), utilizes modal harmonies and ends with a march-like orchestral section that repeats (each time with added material) alternating with the choir a cappella.
Psalm 93, about the majesty and power of God, is written for pared down orchestra; Flutes, Oboes, and Clarinets, and only two Horns for Brass, as is the same (with Bassoons added) for Psalms 148 and 23, all three of which were recorded by the Moravian Philharmonic under Vit Micka with the Brno Choir.
Psalms 126 (a psalm of ascents)and 130 (a prayer of supplication) were written as a set at the request of Andrew Martin (playing here), a percussionist-faculty member of the U. of Minn. They are scored for Women's Choir (Lucnica Choir) and Vibraphone.
Psalm 142, a Psalm of David requesting divine help, is written for SATB, strings, Timpani, Vibraphone, Piano and Harp. It's slow tempo in seven/four time helps in the expression of David's prayer.
Psalms 91 and 103 were recorded at the same time with the Philharmonic Chamber Choir here instead of the Lucnica Choir. The Andante tempo of Psalm 103 helps to get across the gratitude for God's protection and mercy expressed by the Psalm.
Psalm 91, with the same orchestration minus brass speaks of God's protection and power. Soloists are also heard here.
ABOUT THE GUEST ARTIST - ANDREW MARTIN:
Andrew R. Martin, Ph.D., is Professor of Music at Inver Hills College, Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota where he teaches courses in music history, music analysis, percussion, and directs the African music ensemble and steel drum band. A champion of new music and living composers, Dr. Martin has performed widely throughout the United States and Europe and shared the stage with such ensembles such as the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Prague Academy Orchestra, Slovak Radio Orchestra, and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. Martin’s research areas focus on intersections between American and Caribbean music as well as popular and folk music and musicians during the cold war. Dr. Martin has published widely on the above topics and presented numerous lectures and conference papers throughout the United States, Canada, Caribbean, Europe, and China. His first book Military Might, Melodious Music: The US Navy Steel Band 1957-1999 is forthcoming in Fall 2013.