The Christmas Vespers Psalm 111, Beatus Vir, by Alessandro Grandi. High Definition video from the Venetian Christmas Vespers Concert, December, 2013, performed on original instruments by the Early Music ensemble Voices of Music. Featuring (Left to Right) Laura Heimes and Jennifer Ellis Kampani, sopranos; John Taylor Ward, baritone; William Skeen, viola da gamba; David Tayler, archlute and Hanneke van Proosdij, baroque organ.
Scored for three voices and continuo, Grandi’s Vespers psalms of 1630 present a unique way of declaming text: each section is framed with an individual rhythmic and harmonic profile, and the three singers combine for solos, duos and trios, using rhythmic shapes that allow the text to be clearly heard at all times; at the same time, the rhythm is set in a way that allows each singer to flex the word groups according to the internal accent, meter and syllable length of the psalms. In his setting of the Psalm texts, Grandi provides a refined intellectual splendor: the words of the psalms are elevated above ostentation into a world of pure rhetoric.
Voices of Music
Hanneke van Proosdij & David Tayler, directors
Text and Translation
Beatus vir, qui timet Dominum:
In mandatis eius rolet nimis.
Potens in terra erit semen eius;
Generatio rectorum benedicetur.
Gloria et divitiae in domo eius;
Et justitia eius manet in saeculum saeculi.
Exortum est in tenebris lumen rectis:
Misericors, et miserator et justus.
Jucundus homo qui miseretur et commodat.
Disponet sermones suos in judicio:
Quia in aeternum non commovebitur.
In memoria aeterna erit justus.
Ab auditione mala non timebit.
Paratum cor eius sperare in Domino;
Confirmatum est, cor eius:
Donec despiciat inimicos suos.
Dispersit, dedit pauperibus:
Justitia eius manct in saeculum saeculi,
Cornu eius exaltabitur in gloria.
Peccator videbit, et irascetur;
Dentibus suis fremet et tabescet.
Desiderium peccatorum peribit.Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
Blessed is the man who fears the lord:
He delights greatly in his commandments.
His seed will be mighty on earth;
The generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in his house;
And his righteousness endures for ever and ever.
Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness:
He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
Good is the man who is full of compassion and lends.
He will guide his affairs with discretion:
Because he will not be moved for ever.
The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.
He will not be afraid of evil tidings.
His heart is fixed, trusting in the lord;
His heart is established:
He will not be moved,
Until he gazes at his enemies.
He has dispersed, he has given to the poor:
His righteousness endures for ever and ever,
The strength of his soul will be exalted with honour.
The sinner will see it, and will be grieved;
He will gnash with his teeth, and melt away.
The desire of the wicked shall perish.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and
to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now,
and ever shall be, without end. Amen.