Program Notes It was a natural thing for me to blend poetry and the human voice, which is the most wonderful and personal of all musical instruments. Clouds of gray loom in the skies, and deft rays of sunlight filter through the trees and touch on water with an ever-changing chiaroscuro effect. Walking here with poetry in his mind and music in his heart, Lauridsen finds inspiration for his compositions, luminous with inner radiance. Lauridsen composed the requiem Lux Aeterna in , the year his mother died.
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The five-movement work for chorus and orchestra is organized around several Latin texts addressing the idea of light. The first movement, "Introitus" Entrance , text excerpted from the Requiem Mass, begins at two pitch extremes.
While the basses hold a low pedal note, the violins sustain a high harmonic. Between them enter the strings, first cellos, then violas, and violins. Following the introduction, the chorus enters, a cappella, closely spaced and hushed. Next a canon on "et lux perpetua" begins a swell that culminates in a majestic but piteous tutti cry on "Exaudi orationem meam" Hear my prayer. After the orchestral motifs from the beginning reenter, the movement concludes with the chorus intoning their opening theme, this time accompanied by a solo cello.
In this complex movement, Lauridsen employs more complicated contrapuntal procedures such as the cantus firmus here, the seventeenth century German hymn-tune "Herzliebster Jesu," heard in the bass trombone and inverted canon in the chorus at "fiat misercordia". The cellos and basses supply the downbeat only to the central movement of the cycle, the a cappella motet, "O nata lux" O Born Light , with text from a hymn for the Divine Office. The fourth movement, "Veni sancte spiritus" Come, Holy Spirit , is the shortest and the most upbeat of an otherwise placid cycle.
The text, drawn from the twelfth century sequence for Pentecost, has a marked rhythm which Lauridsen realizes in an exuberant triple meter; its setting employs a simple orchestral accompaniment to the spirited choral singing, appropriately at its most florid in the central stanza, which references light.
The momentum of the "Veni sancte spiritus" runs headlong into the deliberate pace of the final movement, "Agnus dei - lux aeterna" Lamb of God - Light Eternal. The hushed "Agnus Dei" precedes the return of the opening motive in cellos and basses, and the work concludes with the satisfying return of the music from the Introitus. A non-liturgical Requiem of sorts, Lux Aeterna became an immediate favorite for its lyrical melodies, poignant harmonies, and tonal consistency. The Los Angeles Master Chorale premiered the work in ; their recording won for the composer a Grammy in
Morten Lauridsen | Lux Aeterna
Morten Johannes Lauridsen born February 27, is an American composer. A National Medal of Arts recipient , he was composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale — and has been a professor of composition at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music for more than 40 years. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Lauridsen worked as a Forest Service firefighter and lookout on an isolated tower near Mt. He began teaching at USC in and has been on their faculty ever since.
M. LAURIDSEN - LUX AETERNA
Lux Aeterna: O nata lux