The word has its origin in ancient Greek: Psalmoidia i.e. ‘singing to the harp’, and we find the word again in Psalter, derived from Psallein ‘playing the strings with the fingers’.
PSALMODIES, written for and dedicated to David Starobin, has no specific religious content or aim; the collection of eleven pieces forms a concert-suite, displaying a wide range of emotions; from the jubilant to the dismal, the guitar playing the natural leading part ‘inside’ a chorus of woodwinds and strings. The title and each movement mirrors the variety of moods, from the secular feast of A Fanfare for All to the sacred introversion of A Prayer with Halo.
PSALMODIES opens with a guitar-solo and closes down with one: the rejoicing Entrance for One and the hushed, melancholy Exit for One, thus exemplifying the emotional compass, which I, in an essay on my first symphony; ‘Himmelhoch Jauchsend-zum Tode betrübt’ entitle: Of Joy and Grief. Of Worship and Oblivion.
The three movements for solo guitar (I, VII and XI), along with a short transitional movement, can be played separately as a suite for solo guitar - and are published as such: PSALMODIES - SUITE FOR GUITAR SOLO, WH 30179.