First Look: Spirit & Psalm

Spirit & Psalm is a contemporary collection of responsorial psalms and gospel acclamations for the church year. It blends the style of Spirit and Song with the recitative/chant style of Respond & Acclaim. This resource contains new, inspiring melodies, and accessible tones for the verses. Much like Respond & Acclaim, the psalm verses are noted in

a way that allows for free interpretation by the cantor, but there is additional keyboard figuration to allow for a sustained accompaniment.

Spirit & Psalm comes in 2 printed formats and one digital format.

The soft- bound format of Spirit and Psalm contains a fully figured keyboard accompaniment as well as guitar chords, and lyrics. This binding is handy if you are on the go, or you have to travel between buildings or worship sites. There’s no mess or worry about misplaced pages so it’s also my recommended format if you have more than one musician sharing the same library of resources. The softbound edition of Spirit & Psalm is $20.00 plus shipping.

Spirit & Psalm is also available in a five-hole punched format. Like the softbound version, it contains a fully figured keyboard accompaniment, chords and lyrics. This is my preferred option because this would allow me to remove only what I need for any given weekend. Spirit & Psalm is a bit thicker than Respond & Acclaim, and closer to the thickness of Responde y Aclama because much like the Spanish edition, the keyboard accompaniment is more detailed. When my friend and I took a look at it the softbound a few months ago, we had a little difficulty keeping the pages flat, so I would recommend the five-hole punched option if you were to purchase a print edition. The five-hole punched edition of Spirit & Psalm is $24.00 plus shipping.

If you prefer digital resources, Spirit & Psalm is available as an ebook that can be downloaded to your IPad or tablet. It contains the same materials as the printed editions, but the site indicates that there are some slight differences. I haven’t downloaded it, so I can’t speak to the specifics. It would not be suitable for a cantor who sings from the ambo, but it is definitely suitable for accompanists who use their Ipad or tablet for accompaniment resources. I’ve been known to use my phone for this very purpose at times, but I prefer to print because paper doesn’t run on batteries! The ebook of Spirit & Psalm is $20.00

Contributors to Spirit & Psalm include Tom Booth, Steve Angrisano, and Sarah Hart, as well as several other notable composers of contemporary Catholic liturgical music. Gospel Acclamations have been taken from popular settings like Mass of the Desert and Curtis Stephan’s Mass of Renewal.

Much of the content in Spirit & Psalm is new. The refrains have some syncopation and the notation for the verses is unique. I found it helpful to listen to studio recordings on the CDs my friend purchased. The 5 CD set of Spirit & Psalm for the complete liturgical year is $50.00 plus shipping.

I also find it helpful to listen to the way other experienced colleagues interpret new repertoire, because the studio recordings often include fuller instrumentstion than what is available in most parishes. If you are looking for free YouTube videos of the content in Spirit & Psalm (OCP,) check out SaxMarc1’s Channel

Spirit & Psalm‘s best features

  • Detailed keyboard figuration for those who are improvisation-shy.
  • Guitar, keyboard and cantor parts are all in the same book.
  • Affordable annual subscription.

I’d recommend this to anyone who has a contemporary ensemble, praise band, a LifeTeen band, and anyone who does not use the organ for accompaniment at mass. While this is clearly not a resource that falls into the high-church or traditional genre, I think that a creative organist with an open mind could have a little fun with these settings, as long as they are don’t use traditional registrations or technique. (Like… no reeds in the pedal, no mixtures, etc.)

Now I’m feeling eager to try some of these settings on an organ with MIDI sounds, or even get a bit rebellious, break the rules of conventional registration and use some celestes, orchestral percussion and tremolo.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.