For Good Shepherd Sunday this year, I had programmed an arrangement of J.S. Bach’s “Schafe können sicher weiden” from Cantata 208 with an English text. At each of the choir rehearsals I had however, I became more and more frustrated with the part writing and the irregularity of the text. Finally, in a fit of frustration, I decided I would make my own arrangement and fix both the voice leading and text problems. While I considered trying for a translation of the original German, I opted instead to paraphrase Psalm 23. This is an easy anthem for the choir as they sing a simple four part harmonization of the chorale melody supported at all times by keyboard accompaniment. The piece could also be performed by a unison choir singing the soprano melody.
A performance by the Choir of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen can be seen here.
For many years when planning large multilingual diocesan celebrations, I felt Latin would be the best option for the Mass Ordinary. Because these special celebrations often are festive occasions where I had supplemental instrumental resources, using the traditional Latin chants always felt out of place, especially for the Gloria which follows so soon after what typically is a rousing entrance procession. Even though I love chant, the contrast between styles always seemed to make this hymn of praise more of a funeral dirge.
Finally, I took the time to write a more festive accompanied setting of the Latin text for the closing celebration of the Centennial of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Kissimmee, Florida. While I may eventually do an SATB version and instrumental parts, the piece was first performed by on June 30, 2013 in unison by the combined choirs of Holy Redeemer. There is a congregational-friendly refrain and the verses are marked for women/men/all choral groupings but could just as easily be sung by a cantor alone.
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