Monday, December 20, 2010

O Magnum Mysterium

Tomás Luis da Vittoria (1548-1611) was one of the three great composers of polyphonic music in the 16th century, sharing this distinction with Giovanni da Palestrina and Orlando di Lasso. This is a piece I first sang with the Holy Trinity Choir in Georgetown in the early 1980s. To this day, it is one of my favorite works of that period. I still remember the tenor part from memory, although I can't always sustain the long notes like I used to.

Imagine the eve of Christ-mass, when the air is cold and still, and all the world is at peace, as one ventures upon the scene in Bethlehem, where a baby lies in a manger.

Now hit "play."

“Oh, Great Mystery, and remarkable Sacrament, that animals witness the Lord born, laid in a manger. Oh, blessed Virgin, whose womb was deemed worthy to carry our Lord Jesus Christ. Hallelujah.”

Awesome.
 

1 comment:

Suibhne said...

Awesome, indeed. I find Lauridsen's version, though very modern, equally moving.