Steven M. Allen
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Psaume 46

Psuame 46

Instrumentation 

2-Clarinet in Bb, Bass Clarinet, 4- Horn in F, 2- Trumpet in Bb, 2- Trombone, Bass Trombone, Tympani, Conga, Bass Drum,
2- Violin, Viola, Violoncello, Double Bass

Duration: 26 minutes

 
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The Psalm is set for Orchestra and Chorus in 3 movements. The first movement opens with an orchestral fugue in which the strings represent strength. The agitation of the woodwinds and percussion infuses the presence of struggle. Structured by the intervals of the 4th and 6th, the chorus enters in an ultimate resolve of faith:

Bondyé sé réfij nou é fòs nou
Li toujou la pou’l édé
lè problèm yo vini.

 

 

 

The melodic lines develop independently to the style of a patwa or chant to illustrate a self-realization of the texts, as well, to be of encouragement to others.

The second movement employs the use of the Yanvalou, a traditional Haitian cross-rhythm of 2 against 3. The Yanvalou is most associated with a sacred Haitian spirit dance, of humility and assurance. The ceremonial rhythm, with origins in the Yoruban culture of West Africa, drives the texts:

Minm lè latè tranblé
é lè montay yo tounin nan lanmè
nou pap jan’m pè.

The middle section explores the rhythmic intricacies of the Afro-Haitian rhythms Yanvalou and Ibo, from the Voodoo tradition with an array of displaced rhythms and rhythmic interplay within the ensemble accompanied by a continuous ostinato.

A variation of the opening motive starts the third movement. This time the motive is developed with brass. The texture is reminiscent of the motion of waves to support the many parallels to life of rivers. Introducing the text:

Gin yon rivyè ké chémin Bondyé-a
ki bay nou kè kontan.

 
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Psalm 46
God is our refuge and strength.
A very present help
in times of trouble.
Though the Earth be dissolved
and the mountains roll back to the sea.
We will not fear.

There is a river whose streams
make glad the city of God.
The Holy Place of the Tabernacle
of the Most High. God is in the midst
of her. She shall not be moved

God shall help her just at the break
of day. The Lord of Hosts
is with us.
The God of Jacob is our refuge.

Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted in the Earth.
I will be exalted among
the Nations.

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Psaume 46
Bondyé sé réfij nou é fòs nou.
Li toujou la pou’l édé
lè problèm yo vini.
Minm lè latè tranblé
é lè montay yo tounin nan lanmè
nou pap jan’m pè.

Gin yon rivyè ké chémin Bondyé-a
ki bay nou kè kontan.
Tabènakl sakré koté Bondyé yé,
Bondyé nan mitan li,
Anyin pap jan’m rivé’l.

Bondyé ap toujou la pou’l édé’l,
Bondyé gran-mèt
la toujou avèk nou,
Bondyé Jakob la sé réfij nou.

Rété – konnin ké mouin sé Bondyé
é mouin ap toujou gin gloua sou la tè
é m’ap toujou gin gloua pami tout
nasyon yo