O Lord, our Lord how majestic is your name

  • Composed Spring 2014
  • Psalm 8
  • Peter Burton
  • Scored for SATB choir and piano/organ
  • Difficulty: Moderate

The words of this piece are taken from Psalm 8.

It begins with the instruments playing a light dancing tune which grows in complexity. The choir joins the dance singing the refrain “O Lord our Lord”. This expresses David’s wonder of his God as he considers the heavens. We leave the dance and the verse is more reflective. The choir sings unaccompanied with the alto/bass melody interweaving with that of the soprano/tenor. Finally the male voices, like the orchestral brass section, add an affirming final statement to the verse. The refrain and second verse are then played out in similar fashion.

We then move to a slower section. The dance tune is still there but in a new key and now sung by the choir.This gives weight to the central theme of the Psalm “You made him a little lower than the angels”. As the various creatures of the earth are mentioned, individual voice parts sing in increasing exhilaration. We then return to the slower theme for a final time reaching the climax of the piece.

We are left in suspense but then the instrumental dance at the start returns. The voices join and this grows with increasing fervency, the second theme being added to the instruments as we come to a second climax. The final “O Lord” is one of deepest conviction and gratitude.

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