O Magnum Mysterium


Ercole de' Roberti, The Adoration of the Shepherds, National Gallery, London, 1490

O Magnum Mysterium

 

 

O Magnum Mysterium is a responsorial chant from the Matins of Christmas. A number of composers have reworked the chant into a contemporaneous setting; the settings by Victoria, Gabrieli, Palestrina, Poulenc, Harbison, and Lauridsen are particularly notable. A setting by Peter Maxwell Davies was created for Cirencester Grammar School. The Lauridsen version has also been transcribed for band by H. Robert Reynolds, as has an arrangement for string orchestra, published by string educator Sandra Dackow (from Wikipedia).

 

     Latin text
O magnum mysterium,
et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,
jacentem in praesepio!
Beata Virgo, cujus viscera
meruerunt portare
Dominum Christum.
Alleluia.
 
[Ave, Maria, gratia plena.
Dominus tecum.]
 
[Hodie Christus natus est:
hodie Salvator apparuit:
hodie in terra canunt Angeli,
lætantur Archangeli:
hodie exsultant justi, dicentes:
Gloria in excelsis Deo.]
 
[Domine, audivi auditum tuum, et timui;                                                                             consideravi opera tua et expavi:                                                                                          in medio duorum animalia.]

        English translation

O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord,
lying in a manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear
Christ the Lord.
Alleluia!
 
[Hail, Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with you.]
 
[Today Christ is born:                                                                              
today the Saviour has appeared;                                                                                     today the Angels sing, the Archangels rejoice;                                                                   today the righteous rejoice, saying;                                                                                  Glory to God in the highest. Alleluia!]
                                        
[O Lord, I heard your oracle and I was afraid;                                                                        I considered your works, and I trembled:                                                                              in the midst of the two animals.]
 
 

Click to see and hear a slideshow version of Tomás Luis de Victoria, O Magnum Mysterium. with words, in Latin and Spanish, accompanied by paintings of the Italian Renaissance. 

Click to listen to the Choir of Westminster Cathedral, David Hill (conductor) perform Tomás Luis de Victoria, O Magnum MysteriumAnother version of the Westminster Cathedral Choir performance from YouTube which follows the score with the Latin text.

Click to listen to the Handel and Haydn society, Grant Llewellyn (conductor) perform Tomás Luis de Victoria, O Magnum Mysterium.

Click to listen the Choir of Westminster Cathedral, David Hill (conductor) perform to Tomás Luis de Victoria, Missa "O Magnum Mysterium."

Click to listen to the Cambridge Singers and the City of London Sinfonia, John Rutter (conductor) perform Tomás Luis de Victoria, O Magnum Mysterium.

Click to see and hear the Escolania de Montserrat perform, in the Kobe Kokusai Kaikan, Cristobal de Morales, O Magnum Mysterium 

Click to listen to the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Stephen Darlington (conductor) perform João Rodrigues Esteves, O Magnum Mysterium.

Click to listen to His Majesties Sagbutts and Cornetts , Peter Bassano (Conductor) , Simon Berridge (Tenor), perform Giovanni Gabrieli, O Magnum Mysterium.

Click to hear Giovanni Gabrieli, O Magnum Mysterium, performed by the Umeå Akademiska Kör, Örjan Larsson (conductor).

Click to listen to the Choir of Westminster Cathedral , Martin Baker (Conductor), perform Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, O Magnum Mysterium.

Click to hear the Cardinall's Musick, Andrew Carwood (Conductor), perform William Byrd, O Magnum Misterium.

Click to listen to the Joyful Company of Singers, Peter Broadbent (Conductor), perform Francis Poulenc, O Magnum Mysterium.

Click to hear a one-minute clip of the Emmanuel Music Chorus, Craig Smith (conductor) perform the smaller setting of John Harbison, O Magnum Mysterium.  Click for a one-minute clip of the larger setting.

Click to listen to the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Paul Salamunovich (conductor), perform Morten Lauridsen, O Magnum Mysterium.

Click to listen to the Robert Shaw Chamber SingersRobert Shaw (conductor), perform Morten Lauridsen, O Magnum Mysterium.

Click to listen to the Handel and Haydn society, Grant Llewellyn (conductor) perform Morten Lauridsen, O Magnum Mysterium.

Click to listen to the Boston Chorale, Ezra Keshet (conductor), perform Keshet's O Magnum Mysterium.

Click to hear young composer, David S. Foley, O Magnum Mysterium, selected for performance in the 2006 Society of Composers, Inc. National Student Conference.