Veni, Veni

Conductor Notes:

This a cappella piece was a “wow” for us from the first reading. At nine minutes in duration, it is a substantial centrepiece for a Christmas concert. Particularly satisfying is the weaving of the familiar melody in and around energetic rhythms in all voice parts. I had been worried that it would tire my alto 2 section out with this, but they enjoyed it – even the occasional low “E”. The other parts have moderate ranges and the texture is very satisfying for the singer and the listener. Some extremely difficult moments harmonically, so good readers are essential. Highly recommended.

Composer / Arranger Notes:

Words 12th cen. Latin, translation by Mark Dietrich
SSAA (div), a cappella

Written for The Twin Cities Women’s Choir for their annual “Illuminations” concert, this is a fantasy on two verses of the medieval hymn “Veni, Veni Emmanuel” which invoke light and wisdom. I asked my good friend Mark Dietrich, local singer and poet to make a poetic translations of those verses to weave through the Latin, which he rendered thus:

Come, O dawning of the day
Blessed morning, hallowed light
Illuminate the rocky way
Dispel the shadows of the night

Come, O Wisdom, in whose cause
The hopeful gather here to sing
Teach us the glory of your laws
Bring order to our wandering

The piece blends ancient and modern musical elements, and fragments of the familiar chant are combined with an ecstatic dance on the word “gaude” (“rejoice”). The piece is meant as an invocation of the light to recognize the divinity in all things and the wisdom to act according to that recognition. The text ends with the phrase “the light in me greets the light in you,” a translation of the Indian greeting “Namaste.”

References:

This lists any discs, concerts or collections where this piece is included.

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