1920 - 2008 Person Name: Joseph Gelineau, SJ Composer (Gelineau tone) of "[Lord, if you will, you can make me clean]" in RitualSong (2nd ed.) Joseph Gelineau (1920-2008)
Gelineau's translation and musical settings of the psalms have achieved nearly universal usage in the Christian church of the Western world. These psalms faithfully recapture the Hebrew poetic structure and images. To accommodate this structure his psalm tones were designed to express the asymmetrical three-line/four-line design of the psalm texts. He collaborated with R. Tournay and R. Schwab and reworked the Jerusalem Bible Psalter. Their joint effort produced the Psautier de la Bible de Jerusalem and recording Psaumes, which won the Gran Prix de L' Academie Charles Cros in 1953.
The musical settings followed four years later. Shortly after, the Gregorian Institute of America published Twenty-four Psalms and Canticles, which was the premier issue of his psalms in the United States. Certainly, his text and his settings have provided a feasible and beautiful solution to the singing of the psalms that the 1963 reforms envisioned. Parishes, their cantors, and choirs were well-equipped to sing the psalms when they embarked on the Gelineau psalmody.
Gelineau was active in liturgical development from the very time of his ordination in 1951. He taught at the Institut Catholique de Paris and was active in several movements leading toward Vatican II. His influence in the United States as well in Europe (he was one of the founding organizers of Universa Laus, the international church music association) is as far reaching as it is broad. Proof of that is the number of times "My shepherd is the Lord" has been reprinted and reprinted in numerous funeral worship leaflets, collections, and hymnals.
His prolific career includes hundreds of compositions ranging from litanies to responsories. His setting of Psalm 106/107, "The Love of the Lord," for assembly, organ, and orchestra premiéred at the 1989 National Association of Pastoral Musicians convention in Long Beach, California.