Howard J. Slenk (b. Holland, MI, 1931) received his undergraduate education from Calvin College and his Ph.D. from Ohio State University in Columbus; his dissertation was entitled The Huguenot Psalter in the Low Countries. He taught at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois, and at Calvin College from 1967 until retiring in 1995. From 1970 to 1993 Slenk served as organist and director of music at Woodlawn Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids. His published works include A Well-Appointed Church Music (1960) and various articles on Genevan psalmody.
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Come, praise the LORD, my soul, and all within me,
praise his most holy name; bring him the glory.
Forget not all his benefits to you.
He is forgiving, heals all your diseases,
redeems your life, so satisfies and pleases
that, like the eagle's, he renews your youth.
GENEVAN 103 was first published in 1539 in Strasbourg, where Calvin published a small collection of nineteen psalms. Howard Slenk (PHH 3) harmonized the tune in 1985. Psalm 103 is a favorite song in the Dutch Reformed tradition, partially because of its textual content, of course, but also because its Hypo-Mixolydian tune has great merit. The six long lines have satisfying melodic curves and two main rhythmic patterns supplied by lines 1 and 3 (the other lines are repeats of these) . Not all stanzas are equally jubilant, but strong organ accompaniment is helpful throughout.