Setting the Psalms - Score included
 
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Psalms

When I became the organist and choir director for Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in South Bend, Indiana, I made it my goal to compose a new psalm setting every week. I reasoned that if the great Lutheran composer J.S. Bach could write an entire cantata every week, surely I could turn out a little responsorial psalm! For the two years I spent working on my Master's degree at the University of Notre Dame, the choir (and congregation) of Gloria Dei became my composition lab partners.

I'm not sure that I wrote anything that came close to the genius of J.S. Bach while I was at Gloria Dei --  there are probably only a couple of settings that I still use that date back from then --but, it was a wonderful chance to experiment and get used to composing with a deadline. Once I even did an hommage to John Cage that I called my 'pick-a-pitch' psalm tone. The choir definitely thought I had gone of my rocker and a less tolerant employer might have sent me packing after that little jewel.

From South Bend, I managed to migrate to Aix-en-Provence, France. While I went primarily to study organ and improvisation, when I was able to stay for a second year, I enrolled in harmony. Despite having taken enough theory and composition classes to earn an advanced degree in the states, after a placement test, I was put in the class of rank beginners in France! The teacher had a reputation of being very strict with students, apparently even bringing some students to tears in class, but my background enabled me to quickly pick up the finer points of harmony that I hadn't learned in the states, and I made rapid progress.
With the additional harmony studies under my belt, it became a lot easier to take up the practice of writing psalm settings every week again when I returned to work in the states. I now have virtually two complete three-year lectionary cycles of psalmody for the Roman Catholic Church completed. In order to complete the latest cycle, I was even writing one or more a day!  Hopefully, I'll be able to make all of them available to you in the near future. In the meantime, here is the newest setting of Psalm 117 for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C. Enjoy!


Wishing you all the best,

Wm. Glenn Osborne

PS I had my first rehearsal last night for the Mozart Requiem performance Saturday. If you are in the Orlando area, I encourage you to come and enjoy this fabulous masterpiece. Details are here.