This anonymous piece is one of my favourite settings of Psalm 42. I know it from playing and singing with London Gallery Quire, though I’ve recorded one more verse than we usually sing in order to better portray the hopeful tone of the psalm near the end. The setting is edited by Dr Francis Roads.
Psalm 42 is the sort of thing that many people think of as a bit miserable. It is a psalm of crying out to God from the depths of the soul, saying “Why have you left me alone and outcast?” and remembering happier times, particularly times of offering praise to God in the company of friends. But the psalmist ends by addressing their own soul, both a resolution to be faithful and continue in praise and a reminder that God will give the hopeful reasons to offer that praise. Such yearning combined with faith is also perhaps appropriate for today, when the Church remembers the life and work of St John of the Cross.
This is the first track on my most recent album, Cheerful voices.