O lucidissima

SSA a cappella

“O lucidissima” is the middle 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.


Latin text
O lucidissima apostolorum turba,
surgens in vera agnitione
et aperiens
clausuram magisterii
abluendo captives
in fonte viventis aque,
tu es clarissima lux
in nigerrimis tenebris,
fortissimumque genus columnarum,
sponsam Agni sustentans
in omnibus ornamentis ipsius:
per cuius gaudium
ipsa mater et virgo est vexillata.
Agnus enim inmaculatus
est sponsus ipsius sponse

English translation
O most luminous band of apostles,
arising in true knowledge
and opening
the enclosure
of the devil’s teaching,
washing his captives
in a font of living water:
you are the most radiant light
in the blackest darkness.
You are a mighty row of pillars
supporting the Lamb’s bride
in all her beauty.
Through his joy,
she is mother and standard-bearing virgin.
For the immaculate Lamb
is the bridegroom of his
immaculate bride.


“…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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