The third of six brief descriptions of music I’ve written up for WRTI’s 60th Anniversary Classical Collection of listener favorites. Here is a fuller description of the project, under the first post, the Ave Maria of Franz Biebl.
Morten Lauridsen: O Magnum Mysterium. Elora Festival Singers, Noel Edison. Morten Lauridsen. Naxos 8.559304, Tr 17
“O great mystery, and wonderful sacrament, that animals should see the newborn Lord, lying in a manger. Blessed is the Virgin whose womb was worthy to bear Christ the Lord. Alleluia!”
This text was first chanted by monks in the cold, pre-dawn hours before Christmas mornings centuries ago. Now, the mystical, soaring music of Morten Lauridsen warms millions worldwide. Simple in structure and harmony, yet quietly overwhelming, the Lauridsen O Magnum Mysterium transcends style with its luminously expressive writing. Morten Lauridsen is one of the most-sung choral composers in America and around the world, and this work is a fine example why.
above, from Domenico Ghirlandaio’s 1480s Nativity