Commissioned by the Highland Festival

  • SATB
  • 4 min

Programme Note

Writing vocal music of any sort has always been difficult for me. I normally choose to set a text in a language I don't know myself - gaelic for instance. I had sung Psalm 42 in English many times as a boy (I was a chorister and then a bass at the Cathedral in Inverness), and the text had always stuck in my mind as one of the most beautiful. Its images and its structure had a clarity which was not lost in the gaelic translation. The subject of the Psalm, although I am agnostic, has some relevance for me, too: the idea of feeling as though one has lost touch with something and that life is a constant search for meaning. The text is set simply and in a freely structured way, so that the words maintain their beautiful shape and phrasing.

© 1999 Stuart MacRae