Duke Vespers Ensemble
Brian Schmidt, music director
There are a great many chant tones for the compline hymn, Te lucis ante terminum. I based my work on a lesser-known tone largely because of its emphasis on the raised 6th degree, characteristic of the Dorian mode. The chant permeates every measure of my work, as the basis for ostinati, a melody for harmonization in the slow section, and a random “babbling brook” texture underpinning the tenor solo. A prayer for comfort and security at the end of the day, composers have usually provided the text with a slow and serene atmosphere. I read some more urgency into the lines and thus my work proceeds at a more spirited pace. The frequent presence of 7/8 meter, implicit in the original chant itself, heightens the effect. The work was commissioned by the Duke University Vespers Ensemble, Music Director Brian Schmidt.