The Compline Psalter
My soul shall live for him; my descendants shall serve him; *
they shall be known as the LORD’S for ever.
They shall come and make known to a people yet unborn *
the saving deeds that he has done.
—Psalm 22:29, 30
The office of Compline has four appointed psalms: 4, 31, 91, and 134. Since its founding, The Compline Choir has sung other psalms drawn from the Prayer Book, Common, or Daily Office lectionaries, or those Peter Hallock was inspired to set to music.
Even though titled The Compline Psalter, these psalms can and should be sung during other liturgies and worship services such as Holy Communion, Morning Prayer, and Evening Prayer. Peter Hallock composed the psalm settings in this psalter for The Compline Choir over an extended period from 1978 to 2009. He never envisioned the psalms being published together in one psalter, but I did—and I named it The Compline Psalter in a catalog of his works found in my 2007 doctoral dissertation The Life and Works of Peter R. Hallock. Originally, I listed 45 psalm settings (considering Psalms 134 and 4 as one setting). However, new information has come to light that necessitates exclusion of five psalms from this publication, either because they are identical to one found in The Ionian Psalter or were withdrawn by the composer due to use of venerable 1928 Book of Common Prayer psalm texts. Excluded settings are Psalms 8, 32 (Setting I), 72, 114, and 116 (Setting I). To the remainder, we add eight: Psalms 12 and 82, written for special occasions of The Compline Choir; Psalm 23 (Setting I), discovered atop the composer’s piano after his death; Psalm 91 (Setting I), a quasi-Anglican chant setting that dates to 1978; Psalms 122 and 130, featuring handbell accompaniment; Psalm 22:22-30, the final psalm setting by the composer for The Compline Choir; and Psalm 150, an arrangement for men’s voices and organ accompaniment of Charles Villiers Stanford’s well-known setting.
The editors labored to ensure the psalms were made available in clear, precise, unambiguous performing editions. While many in The Compline Choir will miss singing from photocopied manuscripts, perhaps they will not miss having to decode Hallock’s handwriting or interpret imprecise or ambiguous notations in those manuscripts.
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