Miserere/Psalm 51
Katherine Webb

Composer Katherine Webb
Text Psalm 51
Voicing SATB, a cappella
Lectionary usage Lent, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday
Price $2.95 (U.S.)
Released 10/23
Cat. no. 410-800
Difficulty Mod. Difficult

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This extended setting of Psalm 51 (in Latin) alternates unison psalm tone chant verses with harmonic, choral verses. Much expressive use is made of added note harmony, although the divisi is not extreme or extensive. This setting is most likely to find use during Lent and Holy Week when this psalm is often used during an extended part of the service.

Anthem text
1 Miserere mei, Deus,
secundum magnam misericordiam tuam;
et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum,
dele iniquitatem meam.
2 Amplius lava me ab iniquitate mea:
et a peccato meo munda me.
3 Quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognosco,
et peccatum meum contra me est semper.
4 Tibi soli peccavi, et malum coram te feci; ut justificeris
in sermonibus tuis, et vincas cum judicaris.
5 Ecce enim in iniquitatibus conceptus sum:
et in peccatis concepit me mater mea.
6 Ecce enim veritatem dilexisti;
incerta et occulta sapientiae tuae manifestasti mihi.
7 Asperges me hyssopo, et mundabor; lavabis me,
et super nivem dealbabor.
8 Auditui meo dabis gaudium et laetitiam:
et exsultabunt ossa humiliata.
9 Averte faciem tuam a peccatis meis,
et omnes iniquitates meas dele.
10 Cor mundum crea in me, Deus,
et spiritum rectum innova in visceribus meis.
11 Ne projicias me a facie tua,
et spiritum sanctum tuum ne auferas a me.
12 Redde mihi laetitiam salutaris tui,
et spiritu principali confirma me.
13 Docebo iniquos vias tuas, et impii ad te convertentur.
14 Libera me de sanguinibus, Deus,
Deus salutis meae, et exsultabit lingua mea
justitiam tuam.
15 Domine, labia mea aperies,
et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam.
16 Quoniam si voluisses sacrificium,
dedissem utique; holocaustis non delectaberis.
17 Sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus;
cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies.
18 Benigne fac, Domine, in bona voluntate tua Sion,
ut aedificentur muri Jerusalem.
19 Tunc acceptabis sacrificium justitiae,
oblationes et holocausta;
tunc imponent super altare tuum vitulos.

1 Have mercy upon me, O God,
after thy great goodness:
according to the multitude of thy mercies
do away mine offences.
2 Wash me throughly from my wickedness:
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my faults:
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against thee only have I sinned,
and done this evil in thy sight:
that thou mightest be justified
in thy saying, and clear when thou art judged.
5 Behold, I was shapen in wickedness:
and in sin hath my mother conceived me.
6 But lo, thou requirest truth in the inward parts:
and shalt make me to understand wisdom secretly.
7 Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean:
thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Thou shalt make me hear of joy and gladness:
that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9 Turn thy face from my sins:
and put out all my misdeeds.
10 Make me a clean heart, O God:
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence:
and take not thy holy Spirit from me.
12 O give me the comfort of thy help again:
and stablish me with thy free Spirit.
13 Then shall I teach thy ways unto the wicked:
and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
14 Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God,
thou that art the God of my health:
and my tongue shall sing of thy righteousness.
15 Thou shalt open my lips, O Lord:
and my mouth shall shew thy praise.
16 For thou desirest no sacrifice,
else would I give it thee:
but thou delightest not in burnt-offerings.
17 The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit:
a broken and contrite heart, O God,
shalt thou not despise.
18 O be favourable and gracious unto Sion:
build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then shalt thou be pleased
with the sacrifice of righteousness,
with the burnt-offerings and oblations:
then shall they offer young bullocks upon thine altar.




review copy

"Webb sets all nineteen verses of the Vulgate text, organizing the Psalm in blocks comprising full choir, tenors and basses chanting Psalm Tone 2, solo quartet, and sopranos and altos chanting the same Psalm tone. This large structure is repeated three times and capped by a final full choir statement. The full choir and solo quartet passages are largely identical, although rhythmic accommodations in each passage make room for the verses of the text. The final full choir statement deviates at the midpoint, providing a final cadence that suggests a degree of comfort, albeit somewhat tentatively. All parts divide freely throughout, and the contrast between full choir and solo quartet calls for a medium-sized ensemble at the least. Vocal demands, particularly given the limited amount of musical material, are reasonable, and the repetitive nature lendsitself to liturgical moments of the Lenten season." --AAM Journal, Jan./Feb. 2024


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