01 February 2009

Genevan Psalms on the web

The Genevan Psalms are gradually increasing their presence on the internet. To reflect this, I have recently updated my own Psalter pages by improving and adding to the section I've titled The Psalms on Youtube, differentiating in particular between those performances of Dutch and Hungarian origins. (As indicated before in this space, I far prefer what the latter have done with the Psalms to the former's treatments.) Below is Zoltán Kodály's haunting arrangement of Psalm 121, performed by the 270-year-old Debrecen College Cantus:

And while we're on the subject of the Debreceni Református Kollégiumi Kántus (as it is known in Hungarian), their website boasts a number of excellent music files available for download. My own recommendations? Psalms 19, 46, 50, 65, and 114. The group definitely deserves more recognition on this side of the pond.

And one more: I have just received an email from Hungary informing me of yet another website in that country devoted to the Genevan Psalms: Psalms sung by József Dinnyés, as set to verse by Albert Szenci Molnár (1574-1634). After listening to some of these pieces, I would judge that the effect is remarkably similar to the late Burl Ives singing his well-known folk ballads. It's worth a listen for its unique treatment of these ancient songs.

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