There is a rich tradition of choral singing in my native Philippines, which is probably what intimidated me out of writing choral music for so long, until my friend Enrico Lagasca, an alumnus of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, approached me with the opportunity to write my first piece for chorus. The only stipulation was that it had to use a sacred text.
Although I have had a complicated relationship with religion, I could not cast aside thoughts of Psalm 23, which was fresh in my mind, if only because of its popularity and the many musical settings of it that already exist. Reading through the Psalms confirmed my instinct that out all of them, the twenty-third is the most universally compelling. My setting of it is straightforward for the most part, and I chose to focus on familiar choral gestures rather than to experiment, but half of the piece is devoted solely to the final lines of the text: "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."
Psalm 23 was completed in New York City in the summer of 2016.
SATB (div.) a cappella