Choral Choir,Choral (SATB divisi) - Level 5 - Digital Download
By Sarah Labrie, Conductor - Chamber Choral Conducting Workshop, Sarteano, Italy. By Mary Ellen Haupert. Easter,Sacred,Spiritual. 5 pages. Mary Ellen Haupert #3031789. Published by Mary Ellen Haupert (A0.900166).
ILLUMINE LE TENEBRE (SSAATTBB)
For Jean Saladino and the Viterbo University Concert Choir
TRANSLATION of TEXT:
Most High, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me true faith, certain hope and perfect charity, sense and knowledge, Lord, that I may carry out your holy and true command. Amen. - St. Francis of Assisi's "Prayer before the Crucifix"
NOTES from the composer:
One year ago, I had the privilege of participating in the Leadership Pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome (2011) sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Franciscan Healthcare, and Viterbo University. I carried with me, not only the responsibility of bringing back a hint of Francis’ lived experience to my students, but the desire to compose something wholly Franciscan.
The San Damiano Cross is one of the most distinctive Franciscan images we have on campus. The gentle Jesus that hangs on this 12th-century icon will forever be linked to Francis’ dramatic step from citizen to sainthood-welcoming his earnest prayer to "enlighten the darkness" of his heart. The Basilica of Santa Chiara in Assisi holds both the San Damiano Cross and the remains of his confidante, St. Clare. It seemed a good place to start getting serious.
Copying the prayer in at least six different languages, I tucked it away in my travel books, not digging it out again until the following summer (2012). The opening phrases in the piece came easily enough ("Altissimo, glorioso Dio"), but I stumbled through a handful of ideas before coming up with the mantra ("illumine le tenebre…"). It made sense that Francis would joyfully address God singing forte ("Altissimo" and "Signore"), while quietly chanting his humble prayers for faith, hope, charity, and knowledge.
The friendship between Francis and Clare can’t be missed, not only in the intermingling of SATB voices, but in the setting of "che faccia lo tuo santo e verace comadamento" ("that I may carry out your holy and true command"). The phrase is sung only once by the women before the final return of the "illumine" chant (which is repeated throughout by the men). Maybe I chanced on weaving some of Clare’s courage with Francis’ persistence into "Illumina le tenebre," all while trying to compose something wholly Franciscan?
---Mary Ellen Haupert, October 2012.
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