Use: General, Marian
Required Resources: SAB choir, organ
The text for the First Psalm at Evening Prayer for Monday during Week 2 of the Psalter comes from Psalm 45:1-10.
This setting uses a Latin antiphon/refrain:
Speciosus forma præ filius hominum,
diffusa est gratia in labiis.
Thou art beautiful beyond the sons of men;
grace was poured out upon thy lips.
The texture is mainly homophonic, but does incorporate some melismas in the soprano and alto parts.
The organ accompaniment is supportive, but does not duplicate the vocal parts.
There are seven unison English verses plus a doxology, set to an original accompanied psalm tone in Meinrad style.
When sung as the First Psalm for Evening Prayer, the format would be:
- Seven verses
The psalm setting also has use as a choral piece, wherein the verses can be sung singly by sections of the choir, or in pairs, with an antiphon after each.
The flexibility is obvious — with eight verses, the music can be ideally matched to the time necessary for a Processional, an Offertory motet, or a Communion piece.
Psalm 45 has Marian connotations, often being used in Mass texts for feasts of Our Lady.
With just a little bit of easy Latin, this could be the perfect piece for your choir to move out of strict vernacular singing — and it's suitably liturgical, too!