Japanese Genevan Psalms

From Wikipedia:

Masaaki Suzuki (鈴木 雅明 Suzuki Masaaki?, born 29 April 1954) is a Japanese organist, harpsichordist and conductor, and the founder and musical director of the Bach Collegium Japan. He also teaches and conducts at Yale University and has conducted orchestras and choruses around the world.

Masaaki Suzuki is a promoter of Japanese Genevan Psalmody. In this Dropbox folder you will find a sampling of his work (these are public domain).

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/prddjvr2ol841fs/AAAFT-PVG36RGGyTyygX5sHca?dl=0

gvp

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Psalm 138

Here’s a lovely version of Psalm 138 by Michael Kearney.

gvp

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Deluxe edition

The deluxe edition will have 

o faux-leather heat-burnished, round-cornered soft cover
o thin lightweight paper
o silver foil stamping and gilded edging
o two bookmark ribbons
 
deluxe cover

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Comments working now

I had a setting set to disallow comments. That should be good now, thanks to someone who knows more about this stuff than I do. I’m not only math-callenged but also WordPress-challenged. ~gvp

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Book of Praise, 2014

The Book of Praise committee has given a green light to its publisher, Premier Printing, to publish the 2014 Book of Praise. This will be the third edition of the complete songbook. The first was published in 1972, the second in 1984, and now the third in 2014. So, if the first survived twelve years, and the second lasted thirty years, the third should be good to serve for…. a long time. I would ask someone with better math skills than I to help me out here. Please comment.

A letter has gone out to the churches inviting orders for an end-of-August delivery. 

Jason Bouwman of Compass Creative created the cover. I think it is stunning. 

cover

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New resource for accompanists.

Chris Nobels now has a web page where you can download, at no charge, his arrangements on various Psalms and hymns. Please click here

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GENERAL SYNOD 1954

Over the next while, I will publish some significant General Synod decisions related to the Book of Praise. The reader may find them of interest.

 

GENERAL SYNOD 1954

ARTICLE 56

The Synod decides to leave at liberty of the churches the use of the 34 rhymed versions of the Psalms in the English language as they occur in the Psalter of the Christian Reformed Churches, which can be sung on the Genevan tunes, as long as we are not able to reach a definite solution of this important matter;

and further the Synod decides to appoint a committee with the instruction to study the whole matter of the rhymed version of the Psalms in the English language and to report concerning this matter to the churches one year before the next Synod.

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Changes to hymn notation

Some changes will also be made to the notation of the hymns. Most of the changes made in the APV will be undone. Interestingly, the greatest number of complaints the committee received on one issue had to do with the elimination of rests to some hymns and the introduction of a new tune. In its report to synod the SCBP had written:

By way of introduction the Committee would like to point out that in some cases the changes to hymn melodies were simply corrections of errors (example: Hymn 65, last line). In a number of other cases, however, the changes were inspired by an appreciation for the original musical notation. An example is the melody of Hymn 30 (Christ Jesus lay in death’s strong bands) which represents a notation that is more original than the melody which the churches had been singing from the 2007 Augment.

The SCBP included a number of these more original notations because they were considered beautiful and because it was expected that these melodies would enrich the ministry of praise in the churches. The Committee was convinced that, with some effort, the churches would be able to sing these original versions and learn to appreciate them over time. Judging by feedback received, this has indeed happened in a few congregations. However, in most churches the changes were not appreciated and in a number of churches no serious effort appears to have been made to introduce the changes.

Looking back over developments, the Committee now recognizes that it had underestimated the challenges of trying to implement changes to well-known melodies. It is also recognized that what the Committee believed to be improvements, were not received as such by various church accompanists. As a result, some accompanists may have resisted and/or ignored the changes.

The Committee recognizes that melodies and musical notation should not be a cause of unrest or unhappiness in the churches. In the present situation the Committee feels that the best solution will be to revert to the previous versions of a number of hymns that were changed. Clearly, the majority of churches find the ‘old’ versions to be more singable. Unfortunately, this means that those congregations where the changes have been introduced will be asked to change back to the old version of the respective hymns.

These are the changes of note as decided by synod upon the suggestion of the committee:

  • Hymn 2 (“In God, Our Heavenly Father, I Believe”):  Reinstate 1984 musical notation (old Hymn 1B) with the exception of breath marks.
  • Hymn 12 (“The Song of Moses”):  Reinstate 1984 musical notation (old Hymn 8) with the exception of breath marks.
  • Hymn 18 (“The Song of Zechariah”): Revert to 1984 melody.
  • Hymn 30 (“Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands”): Revert to Augment music notation.
  • Hymn 37 (“Hallelujah! Praised Be the Son”): Revert to 1984 notation (old Hymn 29).
  • Hymn 40 (“The Lord Ascended up on High”): Reinstate fermatas at the end of lines 3 and 6.
  • Hymn 53 (“A Mighty Fortress is our God”): Reinstate fermatas at the end of lines 2, 4, and 9.

These changes will also be made, according to the instruction of synod.

  •  Delete Hymn 31A (“Christ Has Risen! Hallelujah”).
  • Hymn 31B (“Christ Has Risen! Hallelujah”)  becomes Hymn 31.
  • Hymn 48 (“Come, Praise the Holy Spirit”): Revert to 1984 version of this melody (old 37).
  • Hymn 65 (“If You but Let the Father Guide You”): Revert to 1984 version of the melody (old 48).
  • Hymn 73 (“Lo, What a Glorious Sight Appeared”): As APV but fermatas should be inserted after lines 2, 4 and 6.
  • Hymn 74 (“Our Outer Nature Wastes Away”): As APV but fermatas should be inserted after lines 2 and 4.

It is regrettable that Hy. 31a will be eliminated as this original and beautifully rhythmic form of the melody supports better the joyful theme of the resurrection than does the isometric version.

It is also regrettable that the strong and beautiful tune known as “Thornbury” will be eliminated for Hy. 48 and the beautiful, but ill-suited, Passion tune of “Ick will mij gaen vertroosten” will be reinstated for this Pentecost hymn.

The instruction to revert back to the 1984 version of Hymn 65 (old 48) is hard to comprehend since the committee was correcting an error. The last line of the 1984 version incorrectly switches to the tenor voice.

Those are the significant changes to be made to the musical notation of the hymns. Some will be happy about them and others will be sad, but, regardless, most will agree that the Book of Praise is a treasure. What we have in the Psalter is, really, quite incredible. Under the grace of God a Dutch immigrant church, in short order, produced an English Genevan Psalter. As well, over the years, we have accumulated a collection of strong and Biblical hymns. The Book of Praise has been improved over three revisions and, in a matter of months, we will, the Lord willing, publish a great songbook from which we will be able to sing for many years.

We thank the Lord for what he gave in the persons of our fathers, many of whom have gone to be with Him. Their vision and courage was stunning! In a following post I will publish a brief history of the Book of Praise.

May the Lord be enthroned on the praises of Israel!

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Hymn 58

Hymn 58 will be revised. This hymn has an interesting history. The SCBP included it in the Augment, 2007. A number of churches were not happy with the second line of stanza 1, “…we now present to thee.” Baptistic overtones were discerned. Many Baptists, though holding to believer-baptism, yet realize that their children are different from the children of unbelievers and thus have a ceremony in which they dedicate their children to the Lord.

The line can be defended. After all, this is a hymn meant to be sung at the occasion of the baptism of infants. Also, parents do present their children for baptism. Yet, because of the objections of a number of churches, the SCBP recommended to GS Burlington, 2010, that this hymn be deleted and not included in the APV.

Interestingly, GS 2010 rejected the recommendation of the SCBP and adopted a motion to include it in the APV. Synod pointed to Luke 2:22 which speaks about Joseph and Mary taking the infant Jesus to Jerusalem to “present him to the Lord.”

There was, again, some pushback from the churches about the inclusion of the hymn in the APV so the SCBP took another look at the hymn to see if it could be improved. Since the text is public domain, one is free to do this. The amended version was approved by GS Carman, 2013, and will be included in the new BoP.

This is the APV, 2010, version:

1. Our children, Lord, in faith and prayer
we now present to thee;
let them Thy covenant mercies share
and thy salvation see.

2. Such helpless babes Christ did embrace,
while dwelling here below;
to us and ours, O God of grace,
the same compassion show.

3. As they grow up, their hearts secure
from worldly snares, we pray;
O let them to the end endure
in every righteous way.

The BoP 2013 version

1. Our children, LORD, as covenant heirs,
are baptized in your name,
for they your steadfast promise share,
which you to us proclaim.

2. Such children Jesus did embrace
while dwelling here below;
to us and ours, O God of grace,
the same compassion show

3. As they grow up, keep them secure
from worldly snares, we pray;
O let them to the end endure
in every righteous way.

-Stanza 1 is more “covenantal.”
-In stanza 2 the excessively sentimental line 1 has been improved.
-Stanza 3 sees only a small change made to line 1.

We think it is an improvement and trust it will be well-received by the churches.

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Ps. 81:6

Psalm 81 will also see a stanza redone, stanza 6. This is the present APV, 2010, version:

“In the worst of plights
comfort I provided.
On Mount Sinai’s heights
I gave you my law.
You at Meribah
tested were and guided.

The 2013 version will be:

“In a thundercloud
I, the LORD, addressed you;
my support I vowed,
and you also saw
how at Meribah
I was there to test you.

This stanza reflects verse 7b of the Biblical text, and you can see how close it will be:

I answered you out of a thundercloud;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.

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