Caeli Enerrant: A New Anglican Psalm Chant

On Sunday, March 18 the San Diego State University Chamber Choir sang at St. Paul’s Cathedral’s regular Sunday Evensong service. The service of Evensong is an Episcopalian (or Anglican) service that takes place about the hour of dusk and includes a lot of music–much more than the usual morning mass. Everyone in the SDSU Choir had a great time, and it was a wonderful experience for many of the young vocalists, some of which had never experienced a service like this.

We offered music by Victoria, Morley and Mendelssohn for the service, all or which was well received by the congregation. Additionally I had to opportunity to compose a new psalm chant for Psalm 19, the appointed psalm for the evening.

One of my favorite parts of the Evensong service is the psalm chant. Anglican psalm chant is a lovely style of harmonized chant that is sung to the text of the appointed psalm for the service. This evening it was Psalm 19: Caeli Enerrant. At the beginning of the semester Dr. Patrick Walders (director of Choral Activities at SDSU) had discussed the possibility of composing the chant for the service. When I first started singing at St. Paul’s back in 2005 I was immediately drawn to the Anglican Psalm Chant. There is something about the way the text is combined with the harmonized tune that resonates with me, and I was excited to compose a new tune for our engagement.

Now that we have performed the new chant, I’ve decided to post the chant online so anyone who wants to use it for a service my go ahead and do so.

The following is a image file of the psalm tune and pointing that can be printed out:

I also have a pdf version of the psalm that can downloaded:

Psalm 19: Caeli Enerrant

The chant could also be perform by a men’s chorus by transposing it down a fourth or fifth, depending on the ensemble, or by a women’s chorus by transposing it up about a minor third.

As is indicated on the sheet music, this psalm tune may be freely used, performed, and distributed for religious or liturgical purposes, or for educational use. That is to say that anyone should feel free to include this as part of their service music for no cost or composer fee.

I have had trouble finding a good resource for how to learn to read Anglican Chant pointing, so here is a link to the Wikipedia article on Anglican Chant. Unfortunately I don’t use exactly the same symbols for pointing that are shown on the Wikipedia article. But if you’re already hip to Anglican chant you probably don’t need these resources.

I hope this is of use to anyone and feel free to contact me with any questions

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