Sing Psalms


1997ff. In writing in 1979 about the Scottish metrical Psalms in general and the Church Hymnary 3rd Edn (CH3, 1973) in particular, Erik Routley commended 3 versions by Ian Pitt-Watson (1921–95): ‘His versions are beautifully done and are a good augury for any revision of the Scottish Psalter that may, within the next thousand years or so, be in view.’ (A Panorama of Christian Hymnody pp189–90, revised edn 2005 p400.) Without waiting for future millennia, a committee of the Free Ch of Scotland chaired by Donald M MacDonald began work in the 1990s towards a completely new version of the 150 Psalms which would be ‘a metrical translation rather than a paraphrase’. As in 1650 but unlike Watts and many versions in Praise!, there is no ‘Christianising’; it avoids any rendering ‘which determines whether the passage is exclusively or typically messianic’ and aims to avoid archaisms and (where possible) the inversions which have plagued so many earlier metrical Psalters. Verse (stz) numbers correspond to standard English translations. Various samples were made available, on whole-page format, as the work progressed, some of which are used here; the complete book was published in 2003 with the traditional split pages (music above words), to allow for easy reference to alternative tunes. The texts are anonymous but many contemporary tunes are featured. Its brief Preface, followed by a Music Preface, is also much to the point; an Appendix adds 5 items from the 1650 Psalter and tunes, composers and topics are indexed. A words-only edn is also available. See B E Bridge in HSB215 (April 1998). Nos.4, 8, 112, 113, 119E, 129.