O Magnum Mysterium

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Technical file of the work

Duration: 4:40 minutes.
Instrumentation: SSA or TTB
Difficulty: Hard
Text language: Latin


I wrote this piece in 2015 as a commission. It is a piece that illuminates and has the force of a majestic birth. I think the births not only of a life, but of alliances, of stages, a birth that brings a new strength, a new air. That is what this work means to me.

Text Translation

O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the newborn Lord,
lying in a manger!
Blessed Virgin, whose womb
was worthy to bear
the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Notes from Morna Edmundson

Director of Elektra Women’s Choir

This setting of O Magnum Mysterium is both very challenging and rewarding. With huge ranges of tessitura, dynamics, and tempo, it is more like a landscape than a setting of the text. It provided a powerful high point of tension in our concert and one could tell the audience was engaged in its drama. SSAA with divisi and a soprano soloist at the beginning and end. Not recommended for children’s choirs due to the extreme vocal ranges on both ends.