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The Music of Daniel Carter: The Lord Is My Shepherd

Updated on February 17, 2019
Daniel Carter profile image

Daniel is an award-winning composer/author/publisher and public speaker. He speaks about life's difficulties in an inspiring way.

About 1992, friends and I organized a group of about 24 voices and we performed about 20 concerts a year. Mostly those concerts were held in churches, and we performed new, original music. It was a venue for me to perform many of my own new works which in those days was almost entirely religious music. I wrote hundreds of choral pieces, solos, about 10 cantatas, and a few oratorios. Additionally, I arranged a lot instrumental and vocal music based on hymns. In 1996, my singing group, Dan Carter Singers, recorded our one and only CD. On that CD was the track below, The Lord Is My Shepherd. It was a favorite of mine, and when we performed it, received a very enthusiastic response. We were not a professional group, and even when we were in the studio recording, there were skeptics about the quality of the singers. However, I have never worked with a group who loved the gift of singing as they did. And in live performances, that joy was contagious and unmistakable, regardless of whether or not it was conveyed through our attempts to record.

Sadly, the CD is no longer available. There were problems with the original distributor who wasn't as ethical as he claimed.

Here is the music video of that recording:

Where to Buy Sheet Music of This Arrangement

The choral version you listened to is available in sheet music at HolySheetMusic.com.

The text for the hymn was adapted from Psalm 23 by James Mongomery

The Lord is my Shepherd, no want shall I know;
I feed in green pastures, safe folded I rest;
He leadeth my soul where the still waters flow,
Restores me when wand’ring, redeems when oppressed.

Through valley and shadow of death though I stray,
Since Thou art my Guardian, no evil I fear;
Thy rod shall defend me, Thy staff be my stay;
No harm can befall, with my Comforter near.

In midst of affliction my table is spread;
With blessings unmeasured my cup runneth o’er;
With perfume and oil Thou anointest my head;
O what shall I ask of Thy providence more?

Let goodness and mercy, my bountiful God,
Still follow my steps till I meet Thee above;
I seek, by the path which my forefathers trod,
Through land of their sojourn, Thy Kingdom of love.

It is interesting for me to note that the hymnal I grew up using didn't include the fourth verse. I'm not sure why, but some believe it may be because it made the hymn too long (which doesn't seem like a very satisfactory excuse to me).

More about the Lyricist, James Montgomery

James Montgomery was born No­vem­ber 4, 1771, Ir­vine, Ayr­shire, Scot­land. He died Ap­ril 30, 1854, Mount, Shef­field, Eng­land and was buried at Shef­field, Eng­land. His contributions were considered so signicant that in his honor and memory, a sta­tue was erect­ed in the Shef­field cem­e­tery, a stained glass win­dow was in­stalled in the par­ish church, and a pub­lic hall was named af­ter him.

At five years of age, Montgomery's fam­i­ly moved to the Mo­rav­i­an set­tle­ment at Grace­hill, near Bal­ly­mena, Coun­ty An­trim. Only two years lat­er, he was sent to the Ful­neck Sem­in­ary in York­shire. In 1787 he left Fullneck to work in a shop in Mir­field, near Wake­field. However, it wasn't long before he tired of this work, and landed a position at Wath, near Rother­ham, on­ly to find it unlikable as his pre­vi­ous job. As a result he went to Lon­don, hop­ing to find a pub­lish­er for his po­ems, which were perceived as pieces of youthful writing, end­ed with rejection. In 1792, he left Wath for Shef­field to be as­sist­ant to Mr. Gales, an auc­tion­eer, book­sel­ler, and print­er of the Shef­field Reg­is­ter. Gales left Eng­land in 1794 to avoid po­lit­ic­al pro­se­cu­tion. Leaving Mont­gom­ery with an unusual opportunity, he took the Shef­field Reg­is­ter, changed its name to the Shef­field Iris, and con­tin­ued to operate, edit and publish for 32 years. Dur­ing this period he was im­pris­oned twice, first for re­print­ing a song that commemorated the fall of the Bas­tille, and secondly for giv­ing an ac­count of a ri­ot in Shef­field.

Montgomery edited, com­po­sed and pub­li­shed his po­ems and hymns, delivered lec­tures on po­e­try in Shef­field and at the Roy­al In­sti­tu­tion, Lon­don, and the ad­vo­ca­cy of for­eign mis­sions and the Bi­ble So­ci­e­ty. He wrote over 400 hymns in his life. In 1833, Mont­gom­ery was awarded a roy­al pen­sion of £200 per year.

Thomas Koschat Composed the Hymn Tune

Thomas Koschat was born August 8, 1845 in Vik­tring, Aus­tria (now part of Kla­gen­furt) and died May 19, 1914, at Wien (Vi­en­na), Aus­tria. He was buried at An­na­bichl, Kla­gen­furt, Aus­tria.

There isn't a great deal of information about the composer, but cyberhymnal.org writes the following:

"Koschat stu­died chem­is­try in Vi­en­na, and sang as a bass in the Hof­oper (court op­e­ra) choir, and event­u­al­ly be­came choir di­rect­or. He lat­er found­ed the Ko­schat Quar­tet and toured Eur­ope and Amer­i­ca ex­ten­sive­ly. He was well known for his Ca­rin­thi­an folk songs. Em­per­or Wil­helm award­ed him the Ad­ler Orden (Order of the Red Ea­gle)."

Most of Koschat's compositions were significant in the regions he lived in, during the time of his life, but little seems to have remained regarding their importance today. However, His tune for The Lord Is My Shepherd in my opinion, is by far the best tune for author James Montgomery's lyric.

The tune name for this hymn is FORSAKEN. It is the tradition of Christian hymnody to pair words and music in many different ways, and therefore, each hymn tune has a name separate from each hymn text. Hence, The Lord Is My Shepherd is the name of the text, while the tune used tune used for this arrangement is named FORSAKEN.

© 2010 Daniel Carter

Comments

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    • profile image

      KAH 

      6 years ago

      I love reading about the background of great hymns like this.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      8 years ago from the beautiful south

      Strange someone else was talking about this verse and as I told them, it use to mean death and funerals to me for that was the only time I heard it but now it is very beautiful and I know its meaning. Good work here, up and across.

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 

      10 years ago

      I like 'Savior Redeemer of my Soul'

      I looked at your song list

      I just looked at Hymn Duets, looks good

      I have (myself) poetry book for sale www.blurb.com/my/book/detail/616539

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 

      10 years ago

      I understand , your love for beautiful hymns!

      I have attended the Latin Mass for many years and the music, the Gregorian Chant, and beautiful hymns are undescribable.

      I sang in the choir at St.Roger and St.Mary's Chapel and learned many beautiful hymns I still enjoy and remember.

      Also, I love singing. I recored a song in my friend's basement 16 yrs ago, I lost my cassette copy, he used it for an aerobics video on a cable channel.

      I was only 18 at the time.

      Thanks for sharing this! Honestly, this is my favoite Psalm!!!

      we Do have alot in common :)

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