Academic journal article The Hymn

Metrical Psalms for the Church Year

Academic journal article The Hymn

Metrical Psalms for the Church Year

Article excerpt

Metrical Psalms for the Church Year by Hal H. Hopson. Carol Stream, IL: Hope, 2010. 96 pp. ISBN 763628184759. $12.95.

Metrical psalms have been used by the church for hundreds of years. Many versions such as Sternhold and Hopkins or the Genevan Psalter were very successful. Others were heavily criticized for their lack of poetical flow or awkward phrasing. Hopson fills the need of the changing church by producing modern psalm settings.

Hopson is well known in the evangelical church world as a composer of anthems and collections. Some of his popular anthems include: "When I survey the wondrous cross," "In Remembrance," and "Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life." He has also written numerous cantatas, of which "God with Us" was included in a Bicentennial time capsule to be opened in 2076 to celebrate America's 300th birthday.

As the title suggests, this is not a complete psalter but a practical collection of psalms for use in worship which are particularly appropriate for use during specific seasons of the liturgical calendar. The tunes match Hopson's criteria provided in the preface: they are singable, with a limited range and simple melodies that are easily remembered. All of the settings are confined within the span of an octave or ninth and typically lie between c and d1. Hopson has done an excellent job of arranging existing tunes that are familiar to various denominational groups and has composed seven new tunes, for paraphrases of Psalms 1, 24, 29, 84, 96, 122, and 126. …

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