for mixed voices (SATB with divisi) a cappella
Text: Latin (10th century hymn)
Duration: c5 minutes
From one of the UK’s bright, emerging choral composers, Rhiannon Randle, is this sublime setting of the familiar Latin text. O nata lux is a personal reflection on the compelling and timeless choral atmosphere depicted by the famous Thomas Tallis setting of these words. Dedicated to the memory of Randle’s late grandmother, the work balances a sense of intimate prayer and meditation with a spiritual declamation of the ‘light born of light.’ To see hope and new life in despair and death – for in the darkness we have seen a great light – chimes as much with the season of Advent as it does with personal loss.
The lilting homophony of the opening is characterised by light tenuti, intended to provide a sense of gentle ebb and flow, almost as if to accentuate the natural emphases of speech. This then broadens into a polyphonic cascade, which hints at Bruckner as much as paying homage to Tallis’s own setting.
O nata lux is an exciting addition to the Contemporary Choral Series, suitable for intermediate to advanced choirs looking to support and programme new music by outstanding young composers.
O nata lux de lumine,
Jesu redemptor sæculi,
Dignare clemens supplicum
Laudes precesque sumere.
Qui carne quondam contegi
Dignatus es pro perditis
Nos membra confer effici,
Tui beati corporis.
O Light born of Light,
Jesus, redeemer of the world,
Mercifully deign to accept
Suppliant praise and prayer.
You who once deigned to be clothed in flesh
For the sake of the lost,
Grant us to be members
Of thy blessed body.
Randle studied with Julian Anderson at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and Richard Causton at Cambridge University, where she also sang with Trinity College Choir. Her music (which includes three chamber operas, one in association with Royal Opera House) has been performed throughout the UK, Europe and the US by artists and ensembles including Britten Sinfonia, Heath Quartet, Sarah Connolly, the choirs of King’s and Trinity colleges, Cambridge and Christ Church, Oxford; recorded by the BBC Singers; released on Resonus Classics and Regent Records, and broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. She was a finalist in the NCEM Composer Award, has been commissioned by Choir & Organ for its New Music Series, and is Composer-in-Residence at St Michael’s, Cornhill in the City of London. Commissions in that role include memoria for choir and erhu; A Winter Rose, a carol involving alphorns; and works for the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music. Rhiannon combines a busy composing schedule with singing, teaching on the academic staff at Guildhall School, and supervising at Cambridge University.
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