Lux

Poet/Lyricist: 

Offertorium and Communio from the Requiem Mass

Commissioned by: 

Paul and Joyce Riedesel in honor of their 45th wedding anniversary.

Premiere: 

The Rose Ensemble, as part of their Sainte-Chapelle program
Item Voicing Media Price
LK033-03 TBB a cappella
$2.00
LKD033-03
digital download
TBB a cappella $2.00

Text:

Exaudi orationem meam,
Domine Jesu Christe, Rex gloriae, Libera animas omnium
fidelium defunctorum
de poenis inferni
et de profundo lacu:

Lux aeterna luceat eis,
Domine: Cum sanctis tuis
in aeternum: quia pius es.

Domine Jesu Christe, Rex gloriae,
Libera eas de ore leonis,
ne obsorbeat eas tartarus,
ne cadant in obscurum:

Lux aeterna luceat eis,
Domine: Cum sanctis tuis
in aeternum: quia pius es.

Sed signifier sanctus Michael
repraesentet eas in lucem sanctam:
Quam olim Abrahae promisisti,
et semini; ejus.

Lux aeterna luceat eis,
Domine: Cum sanctis tuis
in aeternum: quia pius es.

Hostias et preces tibi,
Domini, laudis offerimus:
tu suscipe pro animalbus illis,
quarum hodie memoriam facimus:

Fac eas, Domine,
De morte transire ad vitam.
Quam olim Abrahae promisisti,
et simini ejus.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

[translation]
Hear my prayer,
Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory,
liberate the souls of all the
faithful departed
from the pains of hell
and from the deep pit;

May eternal light shine upon them,
O Lord, in the company of thy saints
forever and ever; for thou art merciful.

Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory,
deliver them from the lion's mouth;
let not hell swallow them up,
let them not fall into darkness:

May eternal light shine upon them,
O Lord, in the company of thy saints
forever and ever; for thou art merciful.

But let Michael, the holy standard-bearer
bring them into the holy light,
which once thou promised to Abraham
and to his seed.

May eternal light shine upon them,
O Lord, in the company of thy saints
forever and ever; for thou art merciful.

Sacrifices and prayers of praise,
O Lord, we offer to thee.
Receive them, Lord, on behalf of those souls
we commemorate this day.

Grant them, O Lord,
to pass from death unto life,
which once thou promised to Abraham
and to his seed.

Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.

Program Notes: 

When I was commissioned to write a piece for a concert about Sainte-Chapelle, the private chapel of the medieval French royals, the image that first came to mind was that of light coming through the incredible stained-glass windows of the famous Paris landmark. I was fortunate to see them in person on a visit to Paris in 2001. After a little research, I learned more about the construction of the chapel and how it was built by King Louis IX to be a reliquary for Jesus' cross and crown of thorns. These two powerful images: one of light and color, and one of death and darkness, led to my selection of texts and shaped 'Lux'. The two main texts are taken from the Offertory and Communion sections from the Requiem Mass. I chose to intersperse quotes of the original Requiem chant, but re-set it to lyrics from the 'Lux Aeterna' (May eternal light shine upon them). In this way, my hope is to convey the light being received into the darker imagery of death and suffering. Interestingly, I later learned that during his reign, Louis IX not only heard the office but he insisted on hearing the Requiem Mass every day. The musical elements and structure incorporated into 'Lux' are consistent with medieval music: chant, three-part polyphonic texture, and drones. Although the harmonic language is modern, I wanted it to feel at home in a mostly medieval program.