Halleluyah No. 1 (Psalm 150)

Composition and audio © Alexander Massey – 24 June 2012

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Psalm 150 not only completes Book 5 of the Psalms (tehillim), but is the last of all the Psalms. As such, its themes are particularly important as a summation – a vision – of what our central intention should be in prayer and liturgical song. The Psalms cover a huge range of human experience and emotion, including anger, pain, doubt, sorrow, yearning, hope, pleading, revenge, wonder, as well as – of course – praise and thanksgiving. Psalm 150 focuses on hallel ‘praise’, a word used many times in this text. While musical settings of this text are often loud, or loud and fast, I imagine this text as arising from a deep sense of inner quietness and gratitude.

This piece was first performed at the 44th Jewish-Christian Bible Week at Haus Ohrbeck in Germany (2012). It is dedicated to Betty Wainer, my mother-in-law, who passed on three weeks earlier.


  1. Hallelujah! Praise God in his sanctuary! Praise him in the firmament of his power!
  2. Praise him for his mighty acts! Praise him according to his exceeding greatness!
  3. Praise him with the sound of the shofar! Praise him with the harp and the lyre!
  4. Praise him with the tambourine and dance! Praise him with stringed instruments and the pipe!
  5. Praise him with sounding cymbals! Praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
  6. Let every thing that breathes praise the Lord! Hallelujah!

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