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Seven psalms from the Becker psalter

Music: Heinrich Schütz , Words: Jennifer Loren Bell (based on the Becker Psalter)

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Jennifer Loren Bell has created delightful metric English paraphrases for seven of Schütz’s psalm settings, drawing mainly on the Becker Psalter, but also on the King James Bible (first published in 1611) and on the Book of Common Prayer (first published in 1549).

In 1602, the Lutheran pastor Cornelius Becker published a metrical psalter (i.e. a collection of psalms written in regular rhythm) in the German language, with the idea of enabling congregations to sing psalms in their own language to familiar tunes. Heinrich Schütz composed new music for many of the psalms in the Becker Psalter, featuring the dancelike rhythms and lovely harmonies for which he is famous. Bell’s English renderings in turn make these psalm settings accessible to English-speaking congregations.

Schütz’s psalms are tuneful, rhythmic, easy to learn, and useful throughout the year.

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Seven psalms from the Becker psalter

Seven psalms from the Becker psalter

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