O magnum mysterium (2005, rev. 2018)

August 18th, 2018

SGContemporary01SqO magnum mysterium (2005, rev. 2018)

A setting of the Responsory at Matins on Christmas Day


SATB, Organ

fp. 20 December 2005; Keswick Choral Society, Ian Hare, Crosthwaite Parish Church, Keswick, Cumbria, UK.

Scot.p. 06 December 2014; Aberdeen University Choral Society, Chris Gray, St Andrew’s Cathedral, Aberdeen, UK

lon.p. 13 December 2014; London Welsh Chorale, Edward Rhys Harry, St Andrew’s Church, Holborn, London, UK

Commissioned by Keswick Choral Society.

O magnum mysterium (2005) (pdf)


O magnum mysterium was composed for my local, hometown choral society the Keswick Choral Society and their director Ian Hare. I had long been attracted to these words, maybe due to them dealing with the mystery and majesty of the birth of Christ, rather then the more run-of-the-mill fayre found at Christmastime. Ian wanted something both easy to sing and with melody so I decided upon open fifths, not just as it gave an evocative soundworld but it meant that no one group of singers was ever exposed. I counteracted this by the sudden stripping of the texture to solo voice for the ‘Alleluia’. The work is dedicated to my Grandmother (who formally sang in the choir and others).


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