Opus 4, No. 1 – Psalm 1 (Voice and Piano)

Recorded on 7/16/12 and 7/25/12 by Arden Sokglund (Voice) and Travis Mallett (Piano) at the WSU Recording Studio.

Program Notes

Scholars of the book of Psalms consider it no coincidence that, in the ordering and rearranging of this collection of Hebrew songs over time, this Psalm made its way to the front of the book. Psalms 1 and 2 are often considered as the opening to the book of Psalms because  together they make a case for why heeding the words that follow of the book is important and painting a broad picture of the state of humanity in the presence of a holy, wrathful, yet loving God.

Psalm 1 describes what the righteous man isn’t and what he is as well as denounces the wicked. My musical setting plays on the imagery in the Psalm. The “streams of water” that describe the life-giving word of God are represented by the ever-moving right-hand in the piano that creates a fresh sounding B-flat major seventh chord. The 5/4 meter gives the piece a forward-moving flow that represents the positive energy of the Psalm. In verses 4-5, the text decries the wicked and announces that they will not last and cannot stand in the presence of the judgement. Here the flowing texture stops and repeated chords indicate that the wicked are not planted by streams of water and they are spiritually dry. Once the text returns to speaking of the righteous, the valve is opened again and the piano’s texture continues the bright motion of vibrant water.

Sheet Music

Travis Mallett, Opus 4, No. 1 – Psalm 1 (Score)
Travis Mallett, Opus 4, No. 1 – Psalm 1 (Vocal Part)

Video Score 

Travis Mallett, Opus 4, No. 1 – Psalm 1 (Video Score) from Travis Mallett on Vimeo.