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Boom, the last movement of Mahler just rolled in. You’ve been sitting for at least 50 minutes absorbed in one of the great symphonies… then finally, you get to stand, connect with your singing centre and the conductor and embark on this musical journey.

Heavenly doesn’t go far enough.

 

Choral Standards. :)

 

 

 

Verbe égal au Très-Haut, notre unique espérance,
Jour éternel de la terre et des cieux ;
De la paisible nuit nous rompons le silence,
Divin Sauveur, jette sur nous les yeux !
Répands sur nous le feu de ta grâce puissante,
Que tout l’enfer fuie au son de ta voix ;
Dissipe le sommeil d’une âme languissante,
Qui la conduit à l’oubli de tes lois !
Ô Christ, sois favorable à ce peuple fidèle
Pour te bénir maintenant rassemblé.
Reçois les chants qu’il offre à ta gloire immortelle,
Et de tes dons qu’il retourne comblé !

“Word equal to the Very High one, our sole hope
Eternal of both the Earth and the Heavens
Of this peaceful night, we break the silence
Divine Saviour, cast your gaze down on us!

Spread on us the fire of your mighty grace
So all of Hell flees upon hearing your voice
Dissipate the sleep of a yearning soul
Which leads us to forget your laws!

Oh Christ, be favourable to this faithful people
Now gathered to bless you
Welcome the hymns they offer to your immortal glory
And may they come back fullfilled!”

The work was commissioned by Jordi Savall for a peace concert in Barcelona on 1 July 2004. Pärt began the composition two days after the 2004 Madrid train bombings, in memory of the victims. It was first recorded on 29 March 2005 by the Hilliard Ensemble in St. Gerold, Austria. In Spain, it has been performed annually to commemorate the victims.

The text is a 6th or 7th-century hymn based on biblical verses 2 Kings 20:19, 2 Chronicles 20:12,15 and Psalms 72:6-7. Da pacem Domine is in one movement and takes about five minutes to perform. It was originally set for four voices. Pärt later wrote several versions, also for voices and string orchestra, and for instruments alone, string quartet or string orchestra. They were published by Universal Edition. The first performance for the version for voices and string orchestra was in Tallinn on 18 May 2007 at the Niguliste Church, with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste.

The music critic and writer David Vernier commented on the composer’s subtle techniques of composition, forming the structure of the music from “elemental materials” such as “sonority, voicing, and rudimentary harmonies”. Vernier noted “an almost complete subordination of rhythmic influence and the relegation of melody to a more or less implied presence”.

Performers : Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir/Paul Hillier (2006) Some details are different from the score.

Who is Silvia? what is she
That all our swains commend her?
Holy, fair and wise is she;
The heaven such grace did lend her
That she might admired be
Is she kind as she is fair?
For beauty lives with kindness
Love doth to her eyes repair
To help him of his blindness
And, being help’d, inhabits there
Then to Silvia let us sing
That Silvia is excelling;
She excels each mortal thing
Upon the dull earth dwelling:
To her let us garlands bring

8 part choral fun. :)  Singing it this year as well.

 

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