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Published 11th March 2010

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Cat No. JM50119
Price £19.99
Composer: Morten Lauridsen
Arranger: Philip Littlemore


Morten Lauridsen (b.1 943) has emerged as one of America’s finest and most loved composers. His distinguished music has reached a permanent place in the standard choral and vocal repertoire, and is performed regularly by choruses and vocal artists throughout the world. His catalogue is most noted for six major vocal/choral cycles — Les Chansons des Roses (Rilke), Mid-Winter Songs (Graves), Cuatro Canciones (Lorca), A Winter Come (Moss), Madri gall: Six ‘Firesongs’ on Italian Renaissance Poems and Lux Aeterna — and his series of sacred a capella motets. Among these is the moving 0 Magnum Mysterium, which has had over 3,500 performances worldwide since its premiere in 1994. His works have been widely recorded, including the lastest all-Lauridsen CD by Polyphony, conducted by Stephen Layton, which is available on the Hyperion Records label (catalogue number CDA 67449).
In addition to his residency with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Morten Lauridsen is Chair of the Composition Department at the University of Southern California School of Music in Los Angeles, a faculty he joined in 1967. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Lauridsen divides his time between Los Angeles and his summer home on a remote island off the northern coast of Washington State.

O Magnum Mysterium
At once genuinely original and yet reassuringly accessible, the music of Morten Lauridsen has achieved something of a cult status. For centuries, composers have been inspired by the text of the beautiful 0 Magnum My.sterium, (0 Great Mystery), which depicts the birth of the new-born King among the lowly animals and shepherds. Lauridsen’s setting is infused with tenderness and refinement and is a deeply spiritual piece, rich in colour and intensely moving.

Performance Note :
This arrangement for brass band has been taken from the SATS unaccompanied version, published by Faber Music, although it has been raised by a semitone from the original key. Breathing marks from that original version have been left in to assist with the phrasing, but their use is left at the discretion of the conductor At the climax of the music (rehearsal letter D) the arranger has used ‘tenuto’ markings as opposed to accents on the notes, to emphasise the need for weight rather than attack.

A very small amount of percussion has been added, but it is optional. If it is to be played it should always be ‘under’ the dynamic of the band and never over-powering.

Brass Band Grade 3

Duration: 6 minutes.

Grade equivalents for Brass Band test-pieces where there is considerable overlap at the higher levels, depending on the level of competition (local, regional or national):

Grades 1 & 2: Novice and Learner Bands
Grade 3: Youth and 4th Section
Grade 4: Advanced Youth and 3rd Section
Grade 4/5: Premier Youth and 2nd Section
Grade 5: 1st Section
Grade 5/6: Championship and 1st Sections
Grade 6: Championship