Monday, December 5, 2005

O Magnum Mysterium

This morning in chapel the wind ensemble played an arrangement of Morten Lauridsen's O Magnum Mysterium. This was already on my list of beautiful Advent music I wanted to post here at some point, and now, having heard a lovely instrumental arrangement this morning, this work is particularly on my mind today. For those of you not already familiar with Lauridsen's choral works, I recommend them to you. I first became familiar with his O Magnum when my sister's high school chamber choir performed this work many years ago. It's a gorgeous work. There are many other well-known works set to the same text, including a beautiful one by Poulenc and another by John Rutter. The Lauridsen is perhaps the one I am personally most familiar with, and it was a beautiful arrangement that the wind ensemble played today.

O magnum mysterium
et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum
jacentum in praesepio!
O beata Virgo, cujus viscera meruerunt
portare Dominum Jesum Christum.

O great mystery
and wondrous sign,
that animals should see the newborn Lord
lying in their manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb was made worthy
to carry the Lord Jesus Christ.

Text: Responsory of Matins for Christmas Day.

Music: Morten Lauridsen (b. 1943)

Recording Sarah recommends: O Magnum Mysterium; Robert Shaw and the Robert Shaw Festival Singers

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