Following their performance of Lucis largitor in the autumn, Trinity College Chapel Choir sang another of my choral pieces, Of noblest cities on Tuesday 25th January. It’s a meditation on the Magi and their journey to Bethelehem by 4th-century poet and mystic Prudentius, beautifully translated by Victorian poet Edward Caswall. You can hear Trinity Choir’s glowing performance, conducted by Harrison Cole, here.
Lucis largitor is one of the oldest Christian hymns in existence – a radiant poem by Hilary of Poitiers, composed in Latin. In its awe at the natural power of the sun one can feel resonances of other, ‘pagan’ faiths. On Sunday my setting of these words, written a few years ago for unaccompanied choir, received a stunning performance from Trinity College Chapel Choir and Stephen Layton – watch it here.
|Lucis largitor splendide, |
cuius sereno lumine
post lapsa noctis tempora
dies refusus panditur,
|Light’s glorious giver, blest with whose serene rays, |
when night her measured course has run, spreads out anew the widening day
|Tu verus mundi lucifer; |
non is qui parvi sideris
venturae lucis nuntius
angusto fulget lumine.
|Thou art the world’s true morning star; no lesser orb in distance viewed whose clear but unsufficing beam foreshows another’s plenitude|
|Sed toto sole clarior, |
lux ipse totus et dies,
interna nostri pectoris
|No: outshining this created sun, essential day, essential light, the inmost reaches of our hearts |
thou with thy splendour makest bright.