O nobilissima

SSA

“O nobilissima” is the final movement of Lux Lucis, a collection of three motets for women’s voices, on texts by Hildegard von Bingen. The three movements may be performed as a set, or individually. In addition to this version for women’s choir, there is a version for six solo voices.

Program Note

Lux Lucis is a collection of three motets for women’s voices, on texts by Hildegard von Bingen. The title translates as “light”, and especially refers to the light of life or the light of day – it can also translate as “hope” or “elucidation” in certain contexts. The texts by Hildegard for these three motets contain numerous references to light, the sun, flame, life and radiance. Musically, the motets make some references to Hildegard’s compositions – particularly in the use of the interval of the ascending fifth, which is found in many of Hildegard’s songs, and also in the extended chant which opens the third motet – however, there are no direct quotes of Hildegard’s melodies.

Lux Lucis is dedicated to Seattle Pro Musica, and is recorded on the CD Music of the Spirit, by Seattle Pro Musica – SPM 9805. Lux Lucis has won the 2009 New York Treble Singers Composition Contest, the 2007 Roger Wagner Contemporary Choral Composition Contest, and the 2005 Jezic Ensemble Composition Contest.

Notes on preparation and performance

The three movements may be performed as a set, or individually.

Text

Latin text
O nobilissima viriditas
que radicas in sole
et ques in candida serenitate
luces in rota
quam nulla terrena excellentia
comprehendit:
Tu circumdata es
amplexibus divinorum
ministeriorum.
Tu rubes ut aurora
et ardes ut solis flamma.

English translation
O most noble greenness,
you are rooted in the sun,
and you shine in bright serenity
in a sphere
no earthly eminence
attains. You are enfolded
in the embraces of divine
ministries.
You blush like the dawn
and burn like a flame of the sun.

Reviews

“…these works are entirely original, conceived by a composer who absolutely knows her material – various treatments of the theme of “light” – and her medium. The choral writing is first-rate, employing a range of techniques, including cluster effects, irregular or indeterminate rhythms, close dissonances, chords that sequentially form, then contract, then expand, unusual voicings, rhythmic chanting with harmonies reminiscent of Eastern European styles, and a method of imitation/echoing that creates wonderfully colorful, vibrant sound. These are important works that, although quite challenging, should be in the repertoire of every capable women’s choir.”   Classics Today

“…Lux Lucis, a set of three gorgeous motets inspired by the poetry of Hildegard von Bingen…”  American Record Guide

“Lux Lucis is superb – gorgeous colors and stunningly crafted. Bravo!”   Morten Lauridsen, Composer

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