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A Solis Ortus : for SSAA choir

by Keren Terpstra (2006)

A Solis Ortus


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A Solis Ortus / Keren C. Terpstra.

Library shelf no. 782.65525/TER 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

A Solis Ortus was written for the Cathedral Voices at the request of their director, Elizabeth Swain, for performance in the Crypt at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, in December 2006. It is a combination of a modified form of the plainchant hymn Veni Redemptor, with an English translation of A Solis Ortus. Both hymns have their place in the Offices for Christmas Day. This piece therefore has the character of a carol.

The hymn-melody receives different treatment in each verse. Direct canon at the unison in the first three verses builds up to the fourth verse, which enshrines the moment of Incarnation, highlighted here by the addition of a descant. The remaining verses, underpinned and permeated by repeated alleluias in the lowest part, move from canon at the fourth above, through the alleluia commentary of the angels (usually in descending figures), and towards increasing polyphonic independence across all four parts. Throughout the piece, the hemiola-like alleluia refrain forms brackets around the verses. The doxology of the last verse is peppered with false relations, pointing to an ecstatic anguish of joy: God is made human, Emmanuel, taking into Godself the paradox of human nature with its joys and sorrows.

Work Details

Year: 2006

Instrumentation: Unaccompanied SSAA choir.

Duration: 4 min.

Difficulty: Medium

Commission note: Commissioned by Rev. Dr Arthur Bridge.. Composed for the St Mary's Cathedral Voices (Sydney) directed by Elizabeth Swain

First performance: by Cathedral Voices (St Mary's, Sydney) — 17 Dec 06. The Crypt, St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney


Performances of this work

17 Dec 06: The Crypt, St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney. Featuring Cathedral Voices (St Mary's, Sydney).

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