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MacMillan, James: Divo Aloysio Sacrum (1991) 7'
for SATB chorus and optional organ

Music Text

from an inscription on a church wall (L-E)


SATB chorus and optional organ

Abbreviations (PDF)


This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

World Premiere

St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh
Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus/Edinburgh Festival Ensemble / Christopher Bell

Composer's Notes

These words are inscribed above the front door of the Jesuit church of St. Aloysius in Glasgow where I have attended Mass for a number of years. They are used in the middle section of this short motet which calls for the intercession of St Aloysius, one of the most famous and beloved Jesuit saints.

The outer sections involve a simple falling major scale which receives a constantly shifting re-harmonisation at each occurrence. The middle section is constructed out of a rising scale. The work is dedicated to the choir of the church and their conductor Dan Divers.

James MacMillan

Reproduction Rights
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the composer

Repertoire Note

Choral level of difficulty: 1 (5 greatest)

A highly effective and extremely straightforward setting of a text from an inscription over the door into a Jesuit church in Glasgow. The piece begins with a forceful SATB prayer in English (perhaps inspired by the stone on which the inscription was carved) calling for Saint Aloysius to ‘pray for us’. The second, more reflective section (with tenors divided but in the same rhythm), repeats the prayer in Latin, and the final section is an exact repeat of the first. In its very simplicity lies its spiritual directness and success. The optional organ accompaniment merely doubles the vocal parts if pitch needs to be supported.

Repertoire Note by Paul Spicer

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