“Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
Psalm 61, recorded by the David/Asaph Project. Originally released in 2014 on the Pastoral Psalms album, was revised & remastered in 2016. Duration is 4:42.
Produced by John Piper
Musical composition by David Albracht
Recorded in the Dallas area and Louisiana
Engineered & Mixed by John Piper
Mastered by Pete Maher
Bass – Lou Harlas
Cello – Pearce Meisenbach
Guitar – John Piper
Percussion – John Bryant
Vocals – David Albracht
Image above: Church, Frederic Edwin. Rainy Season in the Tropics. 1866. Painting. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
Psalm 61, the fourteenth and final track of the original release of the Pastoral Psalms album, was recorded by the David/Asaph Project during the years 2007-2013. This song features the text of the KJV translation set to new music with all acoustic instrumentation. Song duration is 4:42.
The logistical challenges of recording Psalm 61 were so numerous that it almost did not make the roster for the album. The challenges were centered around the continuously changing tempo of the song with its numerous ritards, fermatas, and rubatos. Because assembling together all of the musicians at once to record this song in a studio was not feasible, a tempo map was constructed around an early demo recording that was freely played without a click track. Musicians had to guess where the tempo was going when recording their individual parts. The song was recorded in starts and stops between fermatas. This made it difficult for the musicians to “get into the groove” so to speak. In spite of these challenges, the song came together nicely, and works well as the concluding track of the original Pastoral Psalms album.
C.H. Spurgeon's Comments on the text of Psalm 61
TITLE. To the Chief Musician upon Neginah, a Psalm of David. The original indicates that both the hymn and the musical instrument were David’s. He wrote the verses and himself sang them to the stringed instrument whose sound he loved so well. We have left the Psalms entitled Michtam, but we shall still find much precious meaning though the golden name be wanting. We have met with the title of this Psalm before, in Psalms 4, 6, 54, and 55, but with this difference, that in the present case the word is in the singular number: the Psalm itself is very personal, and well adapted for the private devotion of a single individual.
SUBJECT AND DIVISION. This Psalm is a pearl. It is little, but precious. To many a mourner it has furnished utterance when the mind could not have devised a speech for itself. It was evidently composed by David after he had come to the throne,—see Ps 61:6. The second verse leads us to believe that it was written during the psalmist’s enforced exile from the tabernacle, which was the visible abode of God: if so, the period of Absalom’s rebellion has been most suitably suggested as the date of its authorship, and Delitzsch is correct in entitling it, “Prayer and thanksgiving of an expelled King on his way back to his throne.” We might divide the verses according to the sense, but it is preferable to follow the author’s own arrangement, and make a break at each SELAH.