O Salutaris Hostia (2018)

For Mixed Choir

Written for the University of Notre Dame Liturgical Choir, under the direction of Dr. Andrew McShane. 

Text

O salutaris Hostia,
Quæ cæli pandis ostium:
Bella premunt hostilia,
Da robur, fer auxilium.

Uni trinoque Domino
Sit sempiterna gloria,
Qui vitam sine termino
Nobis donet in patria.

Amen.

*This text is in the public domain. 

Program Note

For this piece, I decided to return to the traditional Gregorian chants of the Church to serve as inspiration. I chose one of three chants that I found and began harmonizing the chant with a language most suited to my compositional voice. This piece serves as an attempt to impose control on the freedom of chant with mixed meters and quartal harmonies, while preserving the expression inherent in chant singing. There is something beautifully mystical about chant, and I did not want to override its power in this regard. With this motivic idea established, I juxtaposed it with two sections made up of a quasi-polytonal "battle" between sopranos/altos and tenors/basses. The idea for this came from the text of the line "Bella premunt hostilia" - "war rages" - to have the voices at odds with one another in rhythm and texture, but unified by harmonies of different key areas blending together succinctly.

J.W.G. II