O Sing unto the Lord
Motet for SATB/SATB a cappellaforces: SATB Choir
duration: Ca 7'00"
published by: Ricordi
O Sing unto the Lord was written in 1998 for no specific event. This piece is less chromatically mobile than Jesu, the very thought…, published at about the same time, but calls for rhythmic agility and focus and great verve in the antiphonal exchanges of its two SATB choirs.Something of the same overarching concern with sixteenth-century sensibility is apparent, but here the composer sought consciously (for the only time in his output that he is aware of) to evoke the spare two-part ‘doubled’ textures so characteristic of Sir Michael Tippett (in certain choral writing but also at the outset of his Second String Quartet).
Church Music Quarterly
[These] balance homophony and polyphony in a manner reminiscent of the finest sixteenth century anthems but in an entirely contemporary language. The close imitations and springy rhythms of O Sing unto the Lord escape the tyranny of the barline without causing metrical difficulties for the singers. Response to the words is precise to the point of word-painting, as in the solemnity of ‘for he is come to judge the earth’ and the antiphony describing ‘a psalm of thanksgiving’. There is a similar sure touch of harmonic effect at ‘and in thy presence rest’ in Jesu, the Very Thought of Thee. – A Meditation selects perfectly appropriate words from Thomas Traherne for a service of baptism and sets them with sensitivity but without a trace of sentimentality.