High as the heavens

High as the heavens
by Joanna Forbes L’Estrange

An uplifting setting of words from Psalm 103
For unaccompanied upper voices (SSAA)

Published by Andagio


Composer’s note
I’ve always wanted to set these words from Psalm 103 because they remind me of Irving Berlin’s lyrics for his love song ‘How deep is the ocean’: How much do I love you / I’ll tell you no lie / How deep is the ocean / How high is the sky? In the Psalm, the love being described is God’s and this time it’s the height of the heavens above the earth rather than the depth of the sea which is chosen to represent the true extent of that love. The Psalms are full of great imagery such as this, making them ideal for musical settings.

I’ve chosen to set the words in a three-part gospel style for unaccompanied upper voices. The piece should be sung with plenty of expression and with a rock-solid pulse; I’ve suggested optional percussion because this will help your singers to maintain the groove throughout. Above all, the words should be clear and as speech-like as possible and the “h” on each iteration of “high” should be generously aspirated!‘High as the heavens’ is a joyful and uplifting piece so sing it with a smile and you can’t go wrong.