Film and TV composer Steven Faux explains how he came to produce The Psalms Project, an epic three volume musical interpretation of the Psalms.
“The Psalms Project brings together the two things I do professionally in life: composing music for media and being an ordained minister in the Anglican Church. But I’ve always found the Psalms puzzling. All those sudden and extreme changes in emotion are difficult to understand. When studying theology for ordination, one of the Old Testament courses involved reading theologian Walter Brueggemann on the Psalms. He sees the Psalms as songs and laments that are rooted in life as it really is. So they mirror our journey, as we move through seasons of well-being, to times of pain and anger, and then perhaps to experiences of surprising new life. All this appealed to me as a composer, because a typical movie or story plot follows a similar trajectory: stability, to conflict, and finally to resolution or closure. Surely dramatic plots capture our imagination because they mirror real life, even if there is plenty of escapist fantasy thrown in! So I have applied an unashamedly plot-like structure to these Psalm settings, both within individual poems, and across the whole.”
The Psalms Project by Steven Faux is a contemporary journey through the vivid landscape of the Psalms, told in the musical language of feature films. We are drawn into a world of joy and praise, danger and abandonment and, finally, restoration and affirmation.
Volumes I and II: Orchestral parts are performed by the COOL Orchestra (Chamber Orchestra of London) in Abbey Road Studio 2, London. Orchestration and conducting is by Alastair King, orchestrator and conductor on British TV’s Downton Abbey. Singers and instrumental soloists were recorded in Bath, England.
Volume III: Following its début performance in Bath Abbey, The Psalms Project Volume III is now available. The evening featured music by renowned orchestra Bath Philharmonia and vocals by acclaimed chamber choir Bath Camerata. A huge thank you to everyone who came along and made it a wonderful evening!
The Psalms Cantata: Having taken part in the performance of the Psalms Project music on opening night of the Bath International Music Festival 2013, Bath’s prestigious county youth choir, Cantilena, decided to record their own CD of the Psalms Project: The Psalms Cantata.
“I want to commend ‘The Psalms Project’, composed by Steven Faux. In twelve contemporary pieces of music it takes you on an extraordinary journey through some of the first forty Psalms. As I listened to the opening performance in St. Michael’s Bath, I found myself deeply moved. Just for a little while I realised that I had stepped aside and paid attention once again to the mystery and miracle of God. I had been refreshed and renewed!” – Rt Revd Peter Maurice, Bishop of Taunton.