Mixing session of the Psaltery demo at Piper Projects, circa 1999.
Born & raised in Amarillo, Texas, David Albracht founded the David/Asaph Project in 1999. His musical background includes playing the violin in school orchestra and playing basic chords on the guitar beginning at age 16. In 1988, during a study break in medical school, he composed a melody and guitar chords to a portion of Psalm 46, which was his first musical composition.
The idea of placing music to the Psalms occurred to David one afternoon when reminiscing about worship music in the church of his youth. He recalled beautiful music that the congregation sang for Psalm 100 and a portion of Psalm 20, both set to a simple melodies, word for word from the Bible. He wondered why more contemporary settings to the Psalms were not available, and speculated that only a small portion of the psalter, such as Psalm 100 and Psalm 20, contain meter in the English translation suitable for contemporary melodic composition. He decided to challenge this idea by attempting to compose a melody to a portion of Psalm 46, and was astonished that a new melody resulted, prompting him to attempt composing melodies for other psalms.
Composing contemporary music to the Psalms has become a life work for David. To date, he has composed melodies to more than half of the 150 biblical psalms. In 1989, he began acquiring equipment to make home recordings of these melodies. In 1996, David attended the Recording Workshop in Chillicothe, Ohio, and used this training and knowledge to improve the quality of the home recordings. A close friend of David’s, Jan Johnston, heard the music and encouraged him to find a professional recording engineer to remix some of the songs. In 1999, David was referred to musician/engineer John Piper in Plano, Texas.
John Piper remixed 4 songs that became the Psaltery demo. Jan sang on two of those songs, and John added guitar overdubs. The response to the Psaltery demo encouraged them to proceed with recording a full-length album, which was completed and released in 2001 in Dallas, Texas. The album, entitled Psalmody, was selected as the “Reviewer’s Choice” top album of the year by the Dallas Morning News. A subsequent album, entitled Pastoral Psalms, was released in 2014, and featured 14 tracks for 10 psalms, one of them including the 23rd Psalm. The musical style chosen for the Pastoral Psalms album was all acoustic instrumentation.
In May 2018, the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Voices choir recorded three of David’s psalm-settings at Abbey Road Studios, which included Psalm 66, vs. 1-4, Make a joyful noise, Psalm 48, Great is the Lord, and Psalm 115, Not unto us, O Lord. The songs were arranged for choir and orchestra by Paul Ayres.
David lives in the Dallas – Fort Worth area. He works as a physician and teacher of internal medicine.