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Nico Muhly

Publisher: Chester Music

O Antiphon Preludes (2010)
for James McVinnie
St. Rose Music Publishing
Solo Keyboard(s)
Year Composed
25 Minutes
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Programme Note
Nico Muhly O Antiphon Preludes (2010)
Each prelude is based on each of the Seven Great O Antiphons for Advent:

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O Radix Jesse, qui stas insignum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.

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The preludes themselves are exquisite reliefs growing out of the original chant melodies, each with its character suggested by the text of the corresponding antiphon. The entire text is printed at the front of the score in Latin only. This music delights in sonorities, uses the most economical of means to make a statement, and has the transparency and delicacy of texture of a great stained-glass window. I recommend these pieces very highly. Among other things, they would make the perfect prelude to a service of Advent Lessons and Carols. We should be grateful that a young composer of Muhly’s stature enjoys composing for the organ and choirs, and encourage him to write more.
Brain Harlow, The Journal of the Association of Anglican Music,01/10/2013
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