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23rd Psalm

Ensemble SATB unaccompanied

Duration 4:45

Completed 2007

Text The Bible

Cost $2.50 (minimum order 10)

This piece was the first piece I ever had performed as a composer. I had recently completed a summer at Interlochen Center for the Arts and had just joined the best choir I had ever sung in. I had been experimenting with writing music for a couple of years, but had only ever heard them played back in poor MIDI renderings through Finale. But, when I approached my choir director to see if he was interested in premiering a piece of mine, I was delighted when he agreed, and I presented him with this piece.

23rd Psalm showcases much of what I was experiencing and imbibing in my my newfound foray into choral music being done at an excellent level. I had been singing works by Eric Whitacre and other, similarly approachable, living composers, introducing me to “pleasant dissonances” such as add9 chords and diatonic clusters. I had also just sung and been very struck by Bruckner’s Os Justi and this piece follows its form almost exactly: an overall ABA form with a very active contrapuntal section in the middle.


While this piece was written before I had really received much formal training, what it may lack in maturity, it makes up for as an earnest and naively passionate expression from a young person who still had no idea what the full career path of a composer looks like and all of the complications of determining one’s own harmonic language, fitting into a crowded landscape, making a living by writing music and all the other stresses. It’s a pure expression of joy in music.

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