choir a cappella
Corde natus (Of the Father’s Love Begotten) was commissioned by Scott MacPherson and the Vokalensemble Kölner Dom and premiered in the Cologne Cathedral. The text was written by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (c.348 – c.413), a Roman judge. The principle melody, Divinum Mysterium, is from an 11th Century Sanctus trope. Both the text and tune are familiar as Christmas hymns.
I have tried to take my setting closer to its source than the typical hymn setting. The work opens with the tune sung as a chant in the sopranos. Slowly, the rest of the choir “picks up” individual pitches in the melody, as though there were a very selective reverb in the hall, forming a diatonic sheen around the melody. The second verse is set mostly in strict modal counterpoint among the upper voices, but the men sing in parallel 5ths, echoing early organum. Finally, the text, tune and choir are split into 4 soloists and multiple separate parts, each presenting small portions of the preceding counterpoint in overlapping waves.