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20423134
20423134
20423134

Illumine le tenebre

By Mary Ellen Haupert

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Choir - Advanced - Digital Download
Composed by Mary Ellen Haupert. Spiritual, Sacred, General Worship, Lent. 5 pages. Published by Mary Ellen Haupert - Soulcraft Music (S0.203339).

Item Number: S0.203339

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 ofparticipating in the LeadershipPilgrimage to Assisi and Rome (2011) sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters ofPerpetual Adoration, Franciscan Healthcare, and Viterbo University.  I carried with me, not only theresponsibility of bringing back a hint of Francis’ lived experience to mystudents, but the desire to compose something wholly Franciscan.

The San Damiano Cross is one of the mostdistinctive Franciscan images we have on campus.  The gentle Jesus that hangs on this 12th-centuryicon will forever be linked to Francis’ dramatic step from citizen tosainthood—welcoming his earnest prayer to “enlighten the darkness” of hisheart.  The Basilica of Santa Chiara inAssisi holds both the San Damiano Cross and the remains of his confidante, St.Clare.  It seemed a good place to startgetting serious.

Copying the prayer in at least six differentlanguages, I tucked it away in my travel books, not digging it out again untilthe following summer (2012).  The openingphrases in the piece came easily enough (“Altissimo, glorioso Dio”), but Istumbled through a handful of ideas before coming up with the mantra (“illuminele tenebre…”).  It made sense thatFrancis would joyfully address God singing forte (“Altissimo” and “Signore”),while quietly chanting his humble prayers for faith, hope, charity, andknowledge.

 

The friendship between Francis and Clarecan’t be missed, not only in the intermingling of SATB voices, but in thesetting of “che faccia lo tuo santo e verace comadamento” (“that I may carryout your holy and true command”).  Thephrase 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’scourage with Francis’ persistence into “Illumina le tenebre,” all while tryingto compose something wholly Franciscan?

 

---Mary Ellen Haupert, October 2012.

 

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