It would seem that two choral selections separated by some 400+ years would be as different as semaphores are to Twitter. However, in the case of two settings of the ancient, beautiful Christmas text O Magnum Mysterium, the similarities are captivating and a bit striking. Both settings will be performed in Voices 21's upcoming Christmas concerts.
At first hearing you might say, "Similar? No way!" In terms of harmonic language, sure, you would be right. Putting that aside, however, Morten Lauridsen's extremely moving and mystical setting of the text has an affinity with the flowing, elegant lines of the Renaissance motet by the Spanish master Cristóbal de Morales (1500-1553). Lauridsen's musical language and style, using dissonances and tone clusters, clearly identify the composition as a modern work. But if one looks under the surface, peeking if you will at the genetic code, the treatment of individual lines and shared musical material creates a similar, palpable emotional response equal to the setting by Morales.
Interest in the music of Lauridsen has been rekindled recently by a documentary film by Michael Stillwater about the composer titled Shining Night. Here is a link to information about the film: www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-lNHdMU0y8
Want to hear these pieces and more? Please join us for one of our performances: