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Anglo-Genevan Psalter in Four-Part Harmony (Oosterhof)



"This collection of psalms is meant for all occasions and situations. It can be used in formal settings like church services and choirs, but also around the kitchen table, in the classroom, the campfire and wherever young and old are gathered to praise God!


This project began some years ago when some sisters in our congregation asked if we could sing the Genevan psalms tunes in four part harmony even though the Book of Praise only provides the melody.. When I looked into this I discovered that although there are many arrangements of the psalms for piano or organ, there are no collections with the lyrics or texts of the Book of Praise (2014 edition) set to four part harmony. I decided to compile a few settings and perhaps write some as well. Beginning with only ten or twenty psalms, the project grew to include the entire psalter.


In addition to the settings that I wrote, I have used an eclectic approach in choosing settings for this collection, all of which are in the public domain. Slightly less than half of the arrangements are from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; the rest are from the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries.


In addition to the 150 psalms I have included thirteen hymns set to Genevan tunes. The first three (Magnificat, Nunc Dimittis, Decalogue) were included in the original completed Genevan Psalter of 1562—the first two were set to original melodies and the Decalogue was set to the tune of Psalm 140. The remaining ten hymns in this collection are found in the hymn section of the Book of Praise using Genevan psalm melodies.


Different versions of the Genevan melodies have come down to us over the centuries. Even the earlier composers that were used in this project did not always agree, although the differences are generally minor. Sometimes more accidentals were used in some tunes, and sometimes less. In some settings the rhythm was a bit different in a given tune than in other settings. I have used the notation and timing used in the 2014 Book of Praise, and sometimes had to adapt the arrangements that I used, accordingly.


The lyrics in this collection are also from the 2014 edition of the Book of Praise. I thank both the SCBP and Dr. William Helder for graciously granting me permission to use these lyrics.


I further thank Dr. Helder for offering encouraging suggestions regarding formatting, spelling, hyphenation and other technical matters. I am also thankful to Dr. Martin Jongsma for his advice and suggestions after reviewing the entire score for me. Any and all mistakes and errors remain my responsibility! Finally, I thank my wife Monica for encouraging me as I spent many days, weekends, and evenings for nearly three years working on this project."


Carl Oosterhoff


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