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John Harbison

Publisher: AMP

Veni Creator Spiritus (1996)
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Chorus a cappella / Chorus plus 1 instrument
Year Composed
2 Minutes
TB chorus a cappella
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Programme Note
John Harbison Veni Creator Spiritus (1996)
Veni Creator Spiritus (for the Rosalind Denny Lewis Music Library, MIT)

Thirteen panels, a pause for the staircase, then six panels. Each panel a given height and width, and most likely seen from a distance of at least twenty feet. The music and stairs clear, the panels opaque. The railing running the length of the new upper story.

One panel was auditioned: or more precisely, eye-balled, in my living room at twenty feet away. Though predominantly a graphic event, the music can be performed by voices and/or instruments.

It was a pleasure to be able to donate this unusual hybrid composition to MIT Music and Theatre Arts, and am glad that Cherry and Mary Emerson’s generously has made its integration into the Library a reality.

To these visual conditions, certain other imperatives might be added—the need to evoke music’s origins, a ceremonial or permanent reference. Thus the music is a canon at the fifth, allowing both parts with different clefs, to be graphically equivalent, allowing each panel to be half new, half old. The melody is based on the ancient Gregorian chant tune for Veni Creator Spiritus, one of the oldest musical texts we posses.

—John Harbison

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