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Judith Weir

Publisher: Chester Music

All the Ends of the Earth (1999)
Work Notes
dedicated to Nicholas Kenyon
Text Writer
Viderunt Omnes (after Perotin)
Chester Music Ltd
Chorus and Orchestra/Ensemble
Year Composed
12 Minutes
mixed chorus
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Programme Note
Judith Weir All the Ends of the Earth (1999)
ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH is a choral motet written for a EBU Millennium Day broadcast. It is based on Perotin's organum Viderunt Omnes.

In this composition, the pitches and proportions of Perotin's cantus firmus and its text have been retained exactly (rescored, however, and sung by tenors and basses). But the duplum, triplum and quadruplum have been replaced by a freely composed setting of the tenth century Alleluyatic Sequence (sung by sopranos and altos).

The Alleluyatic Sequence, based on Psalm 148, was written for the week before Septuagesima, after which the singing of Alleluia was banned in western Europe until Easter.

In addition, a small instrumental ensemble of harp and percussion has been added to embellish the cantus firmus, and to mark punctuation points in the composition.

The duration of the piece is around ten minutes. The voices divide as follows:

SOPRANO; soli, in 1, 2, 3 and 4 parts; then
tutti, in 1, 2, 3 and 4 parts
ALTO; soli, in 1, 2, 3 and 4 parts; then
tutti, in 1, 2, 3 and 4 parts
TENOR; tutti in 2 parts

BASS tutti in 2 parts

ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH was commissioned by the BBC for the BBC Singers, who first performed it on 28 September 1999
in Westminster Cathedral, conducted by Stephen Cleobury,
as part of 'Sounding the Millennium'.
It is dedicated to Nicholas Kenyon.

© Judith Weir


Viderunt omnes fines terrae salutare Dei nostri
Jubilate Deo omnis terra
Notum fecit Dominus salutare suum:
ante conspectum gentium revelavit justitiam suum

All the ends of the earth
have seen the salvation of our God.
Rejoice in the Lord, the whole earth.
The Lord has made known his salvation;
He has shown his righteousness in the sight
of the people


Cantemus cuncti melodum
Nunc Alleluia

In laudibus aeterni regis
Haec plebs resultat

Hoc denique Caelestes chori
Cantant in altum
Let us now sing the melody of Alleluia
In praise of the eternal king let this assembly
resound Alleluia
Then let the heavenly choirs on high sing

Hoc beatorum
Per prata paradisica
Psallat concentus

Quin et astrorum
Micantia luminaria
Jubilant altum
Let the company of the blessed in the fields of
paradise sing Alleluia
Yea, let the glittering shining lamps of the
stars raise their high Alleluia

Nubium cursus
Ventorum volatus
Fulgurum coruscatio
Et tonitruum sonitus
Dulce consonent simul

Fluctus et undae
Imber et procellae
Tempestas et serenitas
Cauma, gelu, nix, pruinae
Saltus, nemora pangant Alleluia
Let the clouds as they sweep, the winds as they
fly, the lightnings as they flash, and the
thunders as they roll utter in harmony their
sweet Alleluia
Let the floods and billows, rain and storms,
tempests and calm, heat, ice, snow, frosts,
woods and forests strike up Alleluia

Hinc, variae volucres
Laudibus concinite cum

Ast illinc respondeant
Voces altae
Diversarium bestiarum
Alleluia Ye many-coloured birds, hymn the creator
with your praises and your Alleluia
With them let the high voices of the divers
beasts answer Alleluia

Istinc montium
Celsi vertices sonent

Illinc vallium
Profunditates saltent
Alleluia Here let the mountain tops sing Alleluia
There let the deep valleys burst forth Alleluia

Nec non terrarum
Molis immensitates:

Nunc omne genus
Humanum laudans exsultet
Let the vast continents too sing Alleluia
Now let the whole human race burst into
praise and shout Alleluia

Et creatori
Grates frequentans consonent

Hoc denique nomen audire
Jugitur delectatur
Let it repeatedly pour forth thanks to the
creator, Alleluia
For he delights in hearing the perpetual
sound of Alleluia

Hoc etiam carmen caeleste
Comprobat ipse Christus

Nunc vos o socii
Cantate laetantes

Et vos pueruli
Respondete semper
Christ himself approves of that heavenly hymn
Now you, brethren, joyfully sing Alleluia
And you, children, answer always Alleluia

Nunc omnes canite simul
Alleluia Domino
Alleluia Christo
Pneumatique Alleluia

Laus Trinitati aeternae:
Now all of you sing together to the Lord,
Alleluia, to Christ Alleluia and to the Spirit
Praise be to the eternal Trinity; Alleluia

[Translation from the Penguin Book of Latin Verse. Not all of the above text has been set to music].

© Judith Weir

  • Ensemble
    The Choir of Gonville & Caius College
    Geoffrey Webber
    Signum Records:
  • Ensemble
    BBC Singers / Choristers of Temple Church / Endymion
    David Hill
    Signum Classics:
'...Weir brought a theatrical sensibility to the motet, 'All the Ends of the Earth'. Based on a 12th-century text, it set the men - intoning a slow chant - against the women, vocalizing increasingly elaborate Alleluias. The play of the two choruses, cycles within cycles, gave the work a captivating, meditative air of timelessness.'
William Randall Beard, Star Tribune,16/03/2004
"The work of the small ensemble of eight featured voices was especially rich and captivating. Traditional Latin text often gives a talented vocal composer, such as weir, freedom of expression, and the singers responded gratefully.
Rick Walters, InReview,01/11/2000
"The first [commission] was Judith Weir's joyful All the Ends of the Earth, a work of the utmost purity and refinement, once again proving this composer's rare gift for choral writing."
Fiona Maddock, The Observer,03/10/1999
"The first part of the programme, rooted in plainchant and featuring a short Judith Weir premiere,…. There was enough variety and layering in the music to command undivided attention, as the Orlando Consort joined the BBC Singers. Weir's All the Ends of the Earth used elements of Pérotin to give perspective to her own female voices. Typically delighting in its unfussy skill, the music's subtle hybrid of old and new was just right for the occasion."
Robert Maycock, The Independent,01/10/1999
“The building [Westminster Cathedral] provided the ideal ambience for a sequence of medieval plainsong and polyphony sung by the BBC Singers under Stephen Cleobury in the first half. It also provided an apt aura around Judith Weir’s new motet All the Ends of the Earth (based on a 12th-century motet by Pérotin sung just beforehand), a beautiful tintinnabulation of vocal sound accompanied by harp and percussion (the Orlando Consort).”
Matthew Rye, The Daily Telegraph,01/10/1999
"Perotin's Viderunt Omnes - its rhythmic subtlety and startling melodic ingenuity perfectly captured on this occasion by the Orlando Consort and the BBC Singers under Stephen Cleobury - was Weir's point of departure. She took over his basic chant and subjected it to a radical re-harmonisation of her own. A second Latin hymn was interwoven with his. The men from the BBC Singers sustained a low, mesmeric drone while the women's voices overlapped one another with melismas of ever increasing complexity. Deep chords from a small group of tuned percussion instruments pushed the work away from its immediate Catholic context towards Orthodoxy. A sudden, surprising upward modulation towards the end, wafted the music heavenward. It is a remarkable piece, full of the deep, translucent beauty that characterises Weir's best work."
Tim Ashley, The Guardian,30/09/1999
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