Dé Sathairn, Bealtaine 16, 2009

The Lauridsen "Lux Aeterna"

I've always loved the sound of sung Latin. It's flows, almost as if it was created for singing. There are only a few languages I know that make singing easier, French and Latin are my favorites. Latin is first of those. Jordan Davis introduced me to the Lux Aeterna. It never fails to ease my mind. I never consider it a waste of time simply to sit and listen to it start to finish. To be honest I don't know if I've ever not listened to it in it's entirety. It wasn't until recently that I found a copy of the vocal score with a translation of the text. The text is taken from portions of the the Requiem mass, Te Deum, O Nata Lux, and Veni, sancte spiritus. Each passage speaks of God the source of light. I love the text of this cycle. It speaks of how the light of the world came to save us, how it purvades our lives, shines through us, grants us peace and rest. The phrase Lux Aeterna occures only once through out the piece, and that is at the end:

Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine:
cum sanctis tuis in aeternum:
quia pius es.

May light eternal shine upon them, O Lord:
in the company of thy Saints for ever and ever;
for thou art merciful.

Lux Aeterna, Eternal Light. It's an important concept for someone like me who often sees himself in very dark places, surounded by dark influence, steeped in dark thought. Honestly when my thoughts grow overly dark this is the first piece of music I turn to. It's not that I only turn to this, but I feel that if God has granted me a piece of music that can ease my mind, and remind me of part of who He is and who I am to Him that I should be grateful and indulge in it regularly. I see God in music, I hear God in music, and I feel God in music...and I bless him for it.

Lux Aeterna

I. Introitus

Requiem Aeternam dona eis, domine:
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus Deus in Zion
et tibi redetur votum
in Jerusalem:
exaudi orationem mean,
ad te omnis caro veniet.
Requiem Aeternam Dona eis, Domine:
et lux perpetua luceat eis

rest eternal grant to them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them
A hymn befits thee, O God in Sion.
and to thee a vow shall be fulfilled
in Jerusalem:
Hear my prayer,
for unto thee all flesh shall come.
Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.

II. In Te, domine, Speravi

Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem
non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu devicto mortis aculeo,
aperuisti credentibus regna coelorum.
Exprtum est in tenebris lumen rectis.
Miserere nostri, Domine
miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua, domine, super nos
quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te domine, speravi:
non confundar in aeternum.

To deliver us, you became human,
and did not disdain the virgin's womb.
having blunted the sting of death, You
Opened the Kingdom of heaven to all believers.
A light has risen in the darkness for the upright.
haver mercy upon us, O Lord,
Have mercy upon us.
Let thy mercy be upon us, O Lord,
as we have trusted in thee.
In thee, O Lord, I have trusted
let me never be confounded.

III. O Nata Lux

O nata lux de lumine,
jesu redemptor saeculi,
dignare clemens supplicum
Laudes preces que sumere.
Qui carne quondam contegi
dignatus es pro perditis.
Nos membra confer effici,
tui beati corporis.

O born light of light,
Jesus, redeemer of the owrld,
mercifully deem worthy and accept
the praises and prayers of your supplicants.
thou who once deigned to be clothed in flesh
for the sake of the lost ones.
grant us to be made members
of your holy body.

IV. Veni, Sancte Spiritus

veni, Sancte Spiritus,
Et emitte coelitus
Lucis tuae radium.
Veni, pater pauperum,
Veni, dator munerum,
Veni, lumen cordium.

Come, Holy spirit,
send forth from heaven
the ray of thy light
come, Father of the poor
Come, giver of gifts
come, light of hearts.

Consolator optime, Dulcis hospes animae,
Dulce refrigerim.
In labore ruquies,
In aestu temperies,
In fletu solatium.

Thou best of consolers,
Sweet guest of the soul
Sweet refreshment.
In labor, thou art rest,
In heat, the tempering,
In grief, the consolation.

O lux beatissima,
Reple cordis intima
Tuorum fidelium.
Sine tuo numine
Nihil est in homnie,
Nihil est innoxium.

O light most blessed,
fill the inmost heart
of all thy faithful
without your grace,
there is nothing in us,
Nothing that is not harmful.

lava quod est sordidum,
Riga quod est aridum.
Sana quod est sucium.
Flecte quod est rigidum,
Fove quod est frigidum
Rege quod est devium.

cleanse what is sordid,
moisten what is arid,
heal what is hurt
flex what is rigid
fire what is frigid
correct what goes astray

Da tuis fidelibus,
In te confidentibus,
Sacrum septenarium.
Da virtutis meritum,
Da salutis exitum,
Da perenne gaudium.

Grant to thy faithful,
those trusting in thee,
thy sacred seven-fold gifts
Grant the reward of virtue
Grant the deliverance of salvation
grant everlasting joy.

V. Agnus Dei - Lux Aeterna

Agnus Dei,
qui tollis peccata mundi,
dona eis requiem.

Lamb of god,
who takest away the sins of the world,
grant them rest

Agnus Dei,
qui tollis peccata mundi,
dona eis requiem.

Lamb of god,
who takest away the sins of the world,
grant them rest

Agnus Dei,
qui tollis peccata mundi,
dona es requiem sempiternam

Lamb of god,
who takest away the sins of the world,
grant them rest everlasting.

Lux aeterna luceat eis, domine:
cum sanctis tuis in aeternum:
quia pius es.

Light eternal shine upon them. O Lord
in the company of thy Saints forever
for thou art merciful.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,
et Lux perpetua luceat eis.

Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.

Alleluia. Amen.


Janet said...

Random stranger here. I found your blog looking up the words for the Lauridsen. I was listening to it and couldn't remember some of the meanings. Of all the choral music I have sung, this has to be my favourite. Thanks for posting the translation.

Timothy K. Hamilton said...

Thanks so much for publishing all the words in one place. It makes listening to Lauridsen much more satisfying and meaningful. I've been listening to his work a lot recently.

Anonymous said...

I too thank you for the translation to the Lauridsen " Lux Aetena". I was fortunate enough to sing this with our symphony choir. Ever since that time, I have been hooked on listening to it. The music is captivation and seems to take you to a higher place. It is so special to now know the Enlish translation. It's funny, because without knowing what the words meant... I still knew what was being conveyed... the music makes you feel the meaning.

basil49 said...

I've been looking for the text for some time and found your post here ... many thanks

Steve said...

Thanks from me as well. Heading to Disney Hall in LA tonight, and wanted to have the lyrics in hand as we listened. I have found this work to be, for me, a slice of what heaven will be like.... someday.

Anonymous said...

After listening to Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna I had to get the Latin translations. Thanks. I think the Latin gives this piece tremendous power. I love to follow the words.

Anonymous said...

The Ann Arbor Civic Chorus is preparing to sing Lux Aeterna in Salzburg later this month. I am thrilled to have this opportunity. Understanding the English translation of the Latin adds another layer of richness to this wonderful music.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the translation.


Anonymous said...

This post is perfectly said. Somehow you can feel the meaning without even knowing the words, and that is an amazing sign of a gifted composer who is in tune with the Divine: "It is in him whose light they see light." Amen.

Snowbear said...

Thank you for this perfect translation...beautiful. It gives special meaning to Lauridsen's wonderful music. So glad I found your blog....again I'm grateful.

Robin said...

Sitting in a lovely church listening to the Oregon Chorale rehearse with Lauridsen himself...hearing about his Oregon roots...and his mother for whom he wrote it...to manage her death...it is beautiful!

Christopher said...

I sing in the bass section of the Michigan Chamber Chorale. We sang "Sure on this Shining Night" during our first season 3 years ago. I then heard an interview of Robert R. Reilly for his book "Surprised by Beauty" He mentions Morten Lauridsen's work as "must listen to" material. That's what took me to Lux Aeterna. Thank you for the translation. It helps me dive even deeper on my Catholic spirituality.

Anonymous said...

I've heard this music before in many places and situations. Finally I learned the name and have listened to many beautiful renditions. Now that I know the words it is even more special to me. Thank You.