The 150 Psalms contain some of the most inspiring lines in the Old Testament: Psalm 23 "The Lord is My Shepherd" and Psalm 121 "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills". Yet few know them as a set, and this recording, in Alex Jennings' clear performance, allows us to consider them as a whole. They are not all uplifting and comfortable. Many involve darker sentiments of revenge or punishment; many appear to be by David or about David; others are To the chief Musician upon Gittith. Their variety is part of their strength and their power, especially in the magisterial language of the King James Bible used here. They are presented with English choral music from the 16th and 17th centuries.
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Alex Jennings's delivery is more like a skilled recitation than a narration. Jennings understands the structure of the Psalms as shaped in the well-known language of the King James Bible. Every word is delivered crisply, and his voice is dignified and always respectful. Transitions are bridged with brief excerpts of English choral music from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The combination is beautiful, meditative, and unified.
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