Music © 2018 GIA.
Item #: G-9610
Attr. Ambrose of Milan, 340–397
When I met Kelsey Rose in Oxford in St. Stephen’s House chapel over the summer of 2017, we had both just attended a very moving candlelit concert by Westminster Williamson Voices, featuring my setting of “Tenebrae lumini.” I was delighted to be asked to write a piece for compline in Princeton University Chapel, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Anglican/Episcopal chaplaincy at Princeton University. “Aurora” is the result of that meeting.
Composing by commission often throws up some interesting challenges. The piece had to fit both as an accompanying piece to the plainchant of compline, whilst simultaneously being a celebratory anthem. I was instantly drawn back to the poetry and hymns of St. Ambrose of Milan, particularly “Aurora iam spargit polum.” Fragments of chant (both real and imagined) are used to create the powerful imagery of the descending golden light of dawn. The piece reaches its climax with the plea for the despair of night to “vanish,” which it then does, leaving the sopranos alone on a high G.
Morning Prayer / Lauds
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