Peter Maxwell Davies
Publisher: Chester Music
O verbum patris (2005)
Commissioned by Epsom College in celebration of their 250th anniversary
dedicated to Dr. Brian Kelly
Chester Music Ltd
Chorus a cappella / Chorus plus 1 instrument
O Verbum Patris sets a poem by the twelfth century poet and composer Hildegard of Bingham - a poem which, as fas as is known, she did not herself set to music. This setting is based on the Christmas plainsong "Verbum caro factum est". The ecstatic nature of the text, with its heady images of circling and of the wheel (similitudine rote) I tried to sustain by projecting the tones of the plainsong through repeated cycles of what I think of as the ritual dance of the magic square of Mercury.