O Virtus Sapientiae

Conductor Notes:

This is the only movement from Lux Lucis that I’ve done. With its flowing lines and straightforward forays into aleatoric singing, this is a very successful piece both for the audience and the performers. The divisi is SSA, with each of the three parts splitting into two frequently. Depending on the vocal skill of your alto section, you might want to consider mixing the sections on the three lines from measures 52-62. I did. The opening is “very free and flowing”. Starting at measure 24, the time signature is 5/4, and I changed my approach several times during the rehearsal process. Do I stick with 2+3 or 3+2 consistently, or do I switch it up according to the word stress? In the end, I switched it up and also ceased to be rigid about the beats being the same length, and as a result I felt I could better shape the phrases. The final seven measures provided the most challenge in terms of delivering cohesive tone production. I found the most success when I treated it as a coda that was somewhat hymnlike.

Composer / Arranger Notes:

O Virtus Sapientiae is the first movement in a 2016 suite called Lux Lucis. Lux Lucis is a collection of three motets for women’s voices, on texts by Hildegard von Bingen. The title translates as “light”, and especially refers to the light of life or the light of day – it can also translate as “hope” or “elucidation” in certain contexts. The texts by Hildegard for these three motets contain numerous references to light, the sun, flame, life and radiance. Musically, the motets make some references to Hildegard’s compositions – particularly in the use of the interval of the ascending fifth, which is found in many of Hildegard’s songs, and also in the extended chant which opens the third motet – however, there are no direct quotes of Hildegard’s melodies. Lux Lucis is dedicated to Seattle Pro Musica, and is recorded on the CD Music of the Spirit, by Seattle Pro Musica – SPM 9805. Lux Lucis has won the 2009 New York Treble Singers Composition Contest, the 2007 Roger Wagner Contemporary Choral Composition Contest, and the 2005 Jezic Ensemble Composition Contest.


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



O virtus Sapientiae,
que circuiens circuisti, comprehendeno omnia
in una via que habet vitam,
tres alas habens,
quarum una in altum volat
et altera de terra sudat
et tercia undique volat.
Laus tibi sit, sicut te decet, o Sapientia.

O energy of Wisdom!
You circled, circling, encompassing all things
in one path possessed of life. Three wings you have:
one of them soars on high.
the second exudes from the earth,
and the third flutters everywhere. Praise to you, as befits you, O Wisdom.