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Book Review

 

Br Reginald SSF

Common Worship Psalms and Canticles,

simply pointed for singing.

ISBN 0 9534826 5 7 

Sarum College Press, 2005, 11.95 (Accompaniments for the tones are also available at 1.25)

Available from Sarum College Bookshop, 19 The Close, Salisbury, Wilts. SP1 2EE (post free in the UK).

(price at publication of review)

 

Reviewed September 2005; © Copyright, The Society of Saint Francis, 2005

The  singing of psalms has been an integral part of worship for over 3,000 years.  Psalms express, in vivid terms, the worshipper's experience of God including joy in His presence, (O be joyful in the Lord) - despair when He seems far off (How long will you forget me, O Lord, for ever?) - sorrow for sin (Be merciful to me, O God) and outbursts of praise (Blessed be the Lord my rock).

Jesus and his disciples sang a psalm at the end of the Last Supper and Christians have sung them ever since. They were meant to be sung by all the people of God, not just by trained choirs, and many attempts have been made over the years to enable them to be sung by congregations.  Paraphrases have been popular for hundreds of years (All people that on earth do dwell) and there have been legions of pointed Psalters in more recent times, but many seem to call for careful rehearsal before they can be sung successfully.

But Brother Reginald, in collaboration with Robert Fielding of Sarum College, Salisbury, has produced a version of the Psalms and a selection of Canticles from Common Worship which can be sung immediately by any congregation.  The pointing is of the simplest kind and the tuneful chants can be sung after only one hearing.  They have either two or four notes per quarter, which makes them readily available to everyone.  The presentation of the Psalter in a spiral binding makes it easy to handle and the type face is clear.

This Psalter should be investigated by every church where congregational singing is encouraged.  It's a winner!

John Bertalot

Former Organist and Director of Music at Blackburn Cathedral

 

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