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Lux aeterna

Classical/Choral music • 2018 • Lyricist: old sacred text

Lux aeterna

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PDF, 275.1 Kb ID: SM-000352170 Upload date: 31 Mar 2019
Harp, Female choir: Soprano, Alto; Children’s choir: Soprano, Alto
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Olivia Sparkhall
Lux Aeterna was commissioned by Louise Stewart for the 2018 Salisbury International Women’s Day service. She asked for the piece to be written for two choirs: an Upper Voice Chamber Choir and an inclusive choir featuring the women of Salisbury’s churches; with an open invitation to any female member of any congregation to take part. Sparkhall conceived Lux Aeterna to be a companion piece to Carol J. Jones’s All Shall Be Well, a piece commissioned for the 2017 Salisbury International Women’s Day service. Sparkhall writes:

‘I was moved by the story of the life of Julian of Norwich; how she was so near death that she received the last rites before her miraculous recovery led to the writing of some seminal works. Death is a complex concept in the Catholic church as both an end to earthly existence and the beginning of everlasting life. The Lux Aeterna, which comes at the very end of the requiem mass, asks God to shine eternal light on the departed as well to grant them eternal rest.

As a companion piece to All Shall Be Well, I have considered how Julian’s visions might have been understood then, with how they might be interpreted now. To represent this in sound I have juxtaposed the ethereal qualities of some contemporary sacred music with the music we know would have been familiar to Julian and her contemporaries. Using the original plainchant Lux Aeterna melody as an intonation, reminiscent of the opening of All Shall Be Well, along with the notes of the Lydian mode (the mode in which the Lux Aeterna is set), I have attempted to reimagine the sounds associated with Julian’s fourteenth century voice in the twenty-first century.’
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