Psalm 95: If Today

I had fun recording this setting of Psalm 95 with some friends last night. I can send a .sib file or a pdf of the score to anyone who wishes one; just e-mail me.

This is the third setting of this Psalm I’ve composed. The first was designed for morning prayer and I adapted the text to fit the music. That was back in the 80’s. Setting #2 was another adaptation for the Sunday liturgy. In this one, I used the 1986 Grail text–outdated in a few years: I know. But it’s what I had back in 2005. I’ve never used this setting in liturgy–another composer’s version has always been more popular in my parishes. In fact, the recording session last night might have been the first time anybody had ever heard this setting. Even my wife had never heard it.

Psalm 95 is one of the common psalms for ordinary time. It also appears prominently once in Lent, cycle A, third Sunday–that’s the First Scrutiny.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Psalm 95: If Today

  1. Gavin says:

    A single, somewhat distracted, listen through it was quite enjoyable! I’m guessing this is in a myxolydian mode? It’s an easy, natural, memorable refrain without being stupid (as so many in “Respond and Acclaim” can tend towards). I tend to prefer chanted verses, but this one is written quite well, since it flows naturally from the refrain.

    I have no criticism to make of this, in fact I wouldn’t hesitate to use it were I in a Catholic church, but I can throw out a few superficial things:

    – Accompaniment should be in the manner of a piano if you’re playing it on piano. What you have works on organ, but for a piano, the “block chords” only work for the refrain. On the verses they just sound ploddy, and I suspect you could get away with some interesting harmonies playing off the violin.
    – Sorry, I don’t like replacing “Him” with “God”. I don’t know whether “God’s” is liturgically acceptable, to what extent the psalm response translations are enforced. Even so, it’s something I go out of my way to avoid, although that only involves crossing out one word and putting in another.

    A fantastic contribution!

  2. Dave says:


    Psalmody should never be clinical in my view and the acid test is whether or not the arrangement focuses you on the intent of the author, in this respect I believe you have served the author well.

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