III Lucis Aeternae (Sopranos and Altos)
VII Aeterna Christi Munera (SATB)
IX Ave Maria (Altos and Tenors)
Chant III: Lucis Aeternae Absolve, Domine, animas omnium fidelium defunctorum ab omni vinculo delictorum… Et lucis aeternae beatitudine perfrui. Absolve, O Lord, the souls of all the faithful departed from every bond of sin… And enjoy the bliss of everlasting light. The first two Chants of the sequence are for upper voices and organ, the instrument frequently anticipating and echoing the vocal lines; in Chant III, the organ is silent and the vocal lines weave around each other, creating their own inner resonance, culminating in three ecstatic chordal repetitions of the words lucis aeterna.
Chant VII: Aeterna Christi Munera Aeterna Christi Munera The gifts of the eternal Christ The serenity achieved in Chant VII is of an extraordinary quality, the timeless sonic surface of the music belying its taut structure. In a performance of the complete sequence, this is the first time the men's voices have been heard. There is an irresistible sense of having reached a place where time has ceased to have any meaning: frozen time, or time suspended – territory explored by Lewis in some of his largescale piano works, Musica Aeterna (1997), for example. Recordatio (1999) explores a similar soundworld using a comparable harmonic language; Chant VII almost seems a crystallisation of the earlier work.
Chant IX: Ave Maria Ave Maria, gratia plena… Hail Mary, full of grace… Even sparer than Chant VII, this meditation upon the opening words of the Ave Maria is scored for unaccompanied altos and tenors. Their lines coincide, anticipate, echo and interweave in a deeply moving prayer. Like the gradual approach and disappearance of a spectral choir, there is an almost imperceptible transformation from the stillness of the opening to more fluid, chant-like shapes, and a return to stillness at its conclusion. Note and biography © Dr David Jones, RNCM