Reice AmundsonMr. NeisenConcert Choir12 January 2018Morten Lauridsen Morten Lauridsen is the composer I chose to research. The American composer was born on February 27, 1943 in the Pacific Northwest, specifically Colfax Washington. Interesting enough, Lauridsen worked as a Forest Service firefighter and lookout on an island town near Mt. St. Helens before traveling to study music composition at the University of Southern California.
He began teaching at the University of Southern California in 1967, and has been a member of their faculty ever since. Teaching at the University of Southern California has been his main job since then. Morten Lauridsen’s piece “O Nata Lux” is the first piece I chose to pay attention to.
This is a small excerpt from Lauridsen’s bigger piece, “Lux Aeterna”. The piece stands out to me because of its’ angelic properties. The long, held out notes makes for a flowing piece of music that is very appealing to listen to. This piece makes me think about the springtime. It feels extraordinarily happy. This piece was written by Lauridsen in an SATB version.
The piece has been listed for purchase as A Capella. The overall tone of this piece is definitely a slow-paced, “feel good”. The song kind of takes on an eerie tone, but it is just as equally beautiful. The language that this piece is composed of is Latin. The whole length of the original piece that “O Nata Lux” came from, “Lux Aeterna”, ran for about 7:37.
The piece from that song, “O Nata Lux” runs for 4:27. The words “O Nata Lux” translates to “O Light Born of Light’ in English. The piece is written for Moderate choirs. Lauridsen wrote the piece for a dear friend of his and collaborator, Paul Salamunovich, who was struggling in the hospital (unresponsive and in a coma). He went to the hospital and let Paul conduct with him and he raised his hand and started conducting along, even with tubes attached to his arm. Paul later died. https://www.
jwpepper.com/O-Nata-Lux/3104320.item#/submit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Yn9mWWvF3M The second Lauridsen piece I chose to look into was “Sure on this Shining Night”. I chose this piece quite honestly mainly because it was written in English and I could easily understand it the first time I listened to the piece.
The piece stands out to me because it has such a mellow, calming tone to it. “Sure on this Shining Night” makes me picture laying in the grass on a warm summer night gazing up at the stars, with fireflies buzzing around. Another scenario that floats through my head is entering the gates of heaven, oddly enough. The song is so flowing and simply beautiful. The voice parts available for this piece include SATB, SSAA, and TTBB. Personally, I think that the TTBB version is the best arrangement. It showcases real, manly voices that I don’t get to hear often.
All of the versions have a piano accompaniment that go along with them. The overall tone of the piece, like a huge majority of Lauridsen’s songs, is definitely a very slow, mellow one. Unlike the last piece, this one has been written in English.
I find this easier to understand initially, however in my opinion, Latin makes for a more beautiful and flowing piece. Lauridsen actually gained inspiration from James Agee from his novel “A Death in the Family”. “Sure on this Shining Night” was a poem included in the book.
Lauridsen’s “Sure on this Shining Night” comes from his bigger composition “Nocturnes”, that was written for the American Choral Directors Association in 2005. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyH9epNNx4g https://www.jwpepper.com/Sure-on-this-Shining-Night/3303314.item The final piece of Lauridsen’s I decided to do some more research on is his “Dirait-on”.
The main reason for choosing this piece is that Megan Blatti and I are doing the duet arrangement of this piece for the upcoming solo/ensemble contest. This piece stands out to me because it has a little more energy than the pieces I previously looked into. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Agee