Jonathan Dove UK choirs Discussion Board: Choral Music - Expanding the Repertoire: Jonathan Dove
By Tim on Thursday, June 21, 2001 - 08:22 am:

Thanks to Sonia Russell of the Nonsuch Singers for supplying the following notes:

Jonathan Dove: Into thy hands
Programme note by the composer
Edmund Rich, later St Edmund of Abingdon, was the great scholar of his age. He was treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral for eleven years, later becoming Archbishop of Canterbury, and spending some time in exile. He died near Pontigny in 1243, and is buried there, in the Cistercian Abbey.
In September 1996 the choir of Salisbury Cathedral visited his tomb, to commemorate the 750th anniversary of his canonization, and asked for a setting of his words which they could sing in the Abbey. Knowing that it was a very resonant building, I imagined that the echo would be part of the piece, and set the first prayer spaciously, allowing for the sound of each phrase to reverberate. The second prayer talks of pilgrimage and eternity, and the music reflects this in a calm processional which does not reach an ending, but simply, in trust, surrenders itself.

1. Into thy hands,O Lord and Father, we commend our souls and our bodies, our parents and our homes, friends and kindred. Into thy hands, O Lord and Father, we commend our benefactors and brethren departed. Into thy hands, O Lord and Father, we commend all thy people faithfully believing, and all who need thy pity and protection. Enlighten us with thy holy grace and suffer us never more to be separated from thee.

2. Lord Jesus Christ, mercifully grant to me that the rest of my pigrimage may be directed according to thy will, that the rest of my life may be completed in thee and my soul may deserve to enjoy thee who art eternal life for ever.

Two prayers of St. Edmund

Jonathan Dove: Ecce beatam lucem
Programme note by the composer
In 1996 Ralph Allwood asked me if I would compose a piece for the Eton Choral Courses. I wanted to write something about light, and he suggested this Latin text, which Alessandro Striggio had set four hundred years ago as a forty-part motet. The authorship is uncertain: it may be by Striggio himself. The inspiring words express a radiant, ecstatic moment of wonder: like a single, thrilling, timeless harmony. My response was to write an exploration of a single chord, the chord of C major: for the first thirty bars, this is all the organ plays, in shimmering arpeggios, while the voices move around it, finding out the spaces in between. Later, on the words O mel et dulce nectar (‘O honey and sweet nectar’), half the choir take on the role of sustaining the C major chord; in the closing bars, it returns to the organ, while the voices float around it in a serene contemplation of paradise.

Ecce beatam lucem.
Virtus alma et maiestas passim
cernenda adest.
Quantum decoris illustr’in sole
quam venusta es luna
quam multo clar’honore sidera fulgent.

Quam pulchra quaequ’in orbe!

O quam perennis esca tam
sanctas mentes pascit!
O mel et dulce nectar,
O fortunatam sedem!

Haec quies,
haec voluptas,
haec meta
nos hinc attrahunt recta in paradisum.

Behold the blessed light.
Benign power and majesty are seen everywhere.
The dazzling splendour of the sun
is matched by you, the moon,
and by the stars shining brightly in their great glory.
How magnificent is all creation!

O how such eternal nourishment feeds
holy minds!
O honey and sweet nectar,
O blessed place!

This peace,
this delight,
this goal
draws us from here straight to Paradise.

Latin text set by Alessandro Striggio (c.1540-92) in his forty-part motet Ecce Beatam Lucem.

Jonathan Dove: Seek him that maketh the seven stars
Programme note by the composer
The theme of light, and starlight in particular, is an endless source of inspiration for composers. I came across these words about light and stars while looking for a text to set as an anthem for the Royal Academy of Arts’ annual Service for Artists: I thought these images would have a special meaning for visual artists. The anthem begins with a musical image of the night sky, a repeated organ motif of twinkling stars that sets the choir wondering who made them. The refrain ‘Seek him’ starts in devotional longing but is eventually released into a joyful dance, finally coming to rest in serenity.

Seek him was commissioned by the Royal Academy of Arts and first performed at St James’s, Piccadilly, in May 1995.

Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion and turneth the shadow of death into the morning. (Amos 5:8)

Alleluia, yea, the darkness shineth as the day, the night is light about me. (Psalm 139)

By Tim on Friday, August 03, 2001 - 05:03 am:

Schola Cantorum of Oxford have recently recorded a disk which contains all of the above Jonathan Dove pieces. It's called "Faber New Choral Works" and the ISDN is 0-571-51971-7. Further details can be found on the Schola website

By Justin on Sunday, February 26, 2006 - 02:06 pm:

I was looking for a true latin text of the serenity prayer

Add a Message

This is a private posting area. A valid username and password combination is required to post messages to this discussion.