• Martin Dalby
  • Celebration in Psalms (1985)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Aberdden Bach Choir for 50th anniversary with financial help from the Scottish Arts Council

  • 4tpt.3tbn.tba/2perc/org
  • SATB
  • 15 min

Programme Note

Martin Dalby: Celebration in Psalms

Martin Dalby's new work celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the Aberdeen Bach Choir. Both he and, more particularly, his father John Dalby, were closely associated with the beginnings of the Choir in the nineteen fifties. Celebration in Psalms has been written in response to a commission from the Aberdeen Bach Choir with financial help from the Scottish Arts Council.

The text has been selected by Douglas Kynoch from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. He has chosen five psalms, or parts of them, and though the work is played continuously the music falls naturally into five clear sections. The first is an acclamation (from Psalm 81): Sing aloud to God our strength. The music is deliberately primitive, entirely in unison (note even octaves) with voices alternating with low trumpets, bells and wood blocks. Psalm 100 which follows is a thanksgiving: Make a joyful noise to the Lord and all the lands. The music albeit joyful is gentle and lyrical. Then there are words taken from Psalm 8. They tell of God and His Creation. Psalm 96 tells of God's Glory: O sing to the Lord a new song. The song forms the longest section of the work yet is deliberately restrained, evoking a world of plainsong and early music. The last section is a setting of Psalm 150: Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!

Celebration in Psalms is scored for full chorus, organ, brass - 4 trumpets, 3 trombones and tuba, and percussion.