for mixed voices (SATB div) a cappella
Text: Latin (Responsory on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Use: General, Wedding, Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
This anthem was commissioned in 2012 by Simon Winters to celebrate 25 years of the chamber choir Felicitas. Thinking about the unaccompanied vocal texture brought me back to my 1995 setting of the words of The Venerable Bede, Christus Est Stella, which in turn made me think of the beautiful words of Vidi speciosam. The setting seeks to convey the ecstatic nature of the text, set almost exclusively in a homophonic style; the harmonies are rich and opulent like the text. When performing this work, the overall effect must always be smooth and sustained (staggered breathing is recommended) and the crescendi must never lose the overall balance of the chords if possible.
Recommended recording: The Call of Wisdom (Signum Classics, SIGCD298) by Tenebrae, conducted by Nigel Short.
Vidi speciosam sicut columbam ascendentem desuper rivos aquarum: cuius inæstimabilis odor erat nimis in vestimentis eius. Et sicut dies verni circumdabant eam flores rosarum et lilia convallium. Quæ est ista quæ ascendit per desertum sicut virgula fumi ex aromatibus myrrhæ et thuris? Et sicut dies verni circumdabant eam flores rosarum et lilia convallium.
I saw my fair one like a dove rising above the streams of water: whose wonderful fragrance was powerful in her clothing. And, as on a spring day, she was encircled by blooms of roses and lilies of the valley.Who is it that rises from the desert like a plume of smoke suffused with the scent of myrrh and incense? And, as on a spring day, she was encircled by blooms of roses and lilies of the valley.
Responsory at Matins on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Translation by Ralph Woodward
Will Todd is a UK-based performer and composer whose music spans a variety of styles and genres. Best known for his choral works, he has worked closely with choirs such as The Sixteen and Tenebrae, and his 2003 jazz mass setting Mass in Blue has been performed extensively since its premiere by choirs in the UK, Europe and the USA. Other notable works for choir range from large scale oratorios such as Saint Cuthbert (recorded by the Hallé Orchestra in 2002) to the anthem The Lord is my shepherd, available for both upper and mixed voices with piano or orchestral accompaniment. He has worked on operas and stageworks, most notably in collaboration with Opera Holland Park for whom he wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 2013. A clarinet concerto, written for Emma Johnson, has been performed in the UK, USA and Finland and recorded and broadcast by the BBC Concert Orchestra. As a performer, Will leads his own Will Todd Trio from the piano and regularly directs choir workshops and performances.