Psalm 120, from Joy in the Morning (1991)

Text adapted from Psalm 120 with additional words by Dave Brubeck
Music by Dave Brubeck

SATB Chorus with piano accompaniment

“Joy in the Morning” may be performed in its entirety with chorus and orchestra, as a three-movement orchestral suite, as a three-movement choral suite with orchestra or piano, or as individual choral pieces with piano. Choral movements are published individually by Alfred Music: Psalm 120 (28911), Psalm 121 (LG53058), and Psalm 30 (28912). The orchestral suite has been recorded by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, conducting, on Into the Light: Symphonic Expressions of the Spirit. (Telarc CD 80462).

I. In my Distress (orchestra)
II. Fugue based on Psalm 120 (chorus)
III. I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes (orchestra)
IV. Chorale: Psalm 121 (chorus)
V. Dance for Joy (orchestra)
VI. Chorus: Psalm 30 (chorus)

A Note from the Composer

by Dave Brubeck

Composing music has often acted as a form of meditation of prayer for me. It centers the mind, blocks distractions, and focuses energy. As I lay in my hospital bed the evening before my first angiogram in 1987, I began composing music based on the text of Psalm 30. Eventually I underwent a triple by-pass operation and experienced the mixed emotions of anxiety, fear, relief, and the joy of returning strength that are reflected in the settings of Psalms 120, 121, and 30. When I was in the hospital the significant thought in Psalm 30 was “What profit is there in my death, will the dust praise Thee, tell of Thy faithfulness?”

A few years later when the Hartford Symphony commissioned me to write a piece for chorus and orchestra to celebrate an anniversary of the Connecticut Health Center, I remembered Psalm 30, the piece I had started in anxious hours in the hospital. This was my opportunity to “tell of His faithfulness and to praise Him.” I titled the three-movement composition for chorus and orchestra Joy in the Morning quoting from Psalm 30, “Weeping may tarry for a night, but Joy comes in the morning.” I opened with the fugue “In my sorrow, O Lord, I cry to Thee” (Psalm 120), followed by Psalm 121, “I lift up mine eyes unto the hills whence cometh my help.” In the final movement I expanded my original setting of Psalm 30, keeping my promise to extol Him. Because of my personal experience of both travail and triumph, in setting to music those three psalms, I gave thanks in the most natural way I knew. (July 2007)
© Dave Brubeck Music

Dedicated to the University of Connecticut Health Center with special thanks and gratitude to Dr. Lawrence Cohen.

Sample Sheet Music