VIII Passacaglia in Memoriam Luciano Berio (Sopranos, Altos, Tenors and Organ)
X Requiem Sempiternam (SATB and Organ)
XI Sabbato ad Vesperas (SATB and Organ)
Chant VIII: Passacaglia in Memoriam Luciano Berio The death of the Italian composer Luciano Berio on 27 May 2003 prompted the composition of this large-scale movement for organ with SAT choir. Lewis marks the score Misterioso e spettrale (mysterious and ghostly) and the passacaglia theme itself (derived from the musical letters of Berio's name) can be heard firstly as an intonation on 8' flute, then as a ground bass in the pedals. Although the melodic contour of the theme is unchanging, its rhythm is in a constant state of flux. On top of the bass line appear permutations of the notes of the Berio theme in a sort of distorted mirror image; gradually a slowly rocking middle ground appears, drawing us deeper into a world of peace until the voices of the choir enter, gently sounding Berio's name. As well as being a homage to Berio himself, it is also a homage to one of Berio's most beautiful compositions, itself a homage: O King, written in the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King and later incorporated into Sinfonia (1968). That work in turn makes use of the constituent sounds of King's name. The cryptogram here has a counterpart in the organ solo Chant VI, where one of Lewis's plainchant phrases is based on the letters of his own name.
Chant X: Requiem Sempiternam Requiem sempiternam requiem semper requiescat pace requiescant in pace requietis quietus requies tranquillitatis requietus cum bona pace tranquillus quietum dona eis pace in pace Eternal rest rest peace rest in peace rest at rest rest peace rest peacefully peace at rest grant them rest in peace Chant X uses, for the first time in a performance of the complete sequence, the full choir with organ. The text is, like that of Chant V, a collection of words and phrases, this time on the theme of eternal rest. The setting is appropriately tranquil, returning at first to the texture heard in Chant IV – slow-moving organ chords supporting the chanting of the choir. Gradually, the basses become independent and start to provide a counterpoint to the rest of the choir.
Chant XI: Sabbato ad Vesperas Sabbato ad Vesperas Vespers: Saturday evening vv. 1, 3 and 7 O quanta qualia sunt illa sabbata, quae semper celebrat superna curia, quae fessis requies, quae merces fortibus, cum erit omnia Deus in omnibus. Quis Rex, quae curia, quale palatium, quae pax, quae requies, How mighty are the Sabbaths, How mighty and how deep, That the high courts of heaven To everlasting keep. What peace unto the weary, What pride unto the strong, When God in Whom are all things Shall be all things to men. Thus of the courts of heaven And Him who is the King, The rest and the refreshing, 39 quod illud gaudium huius participes exponant gloriae, si quantum sentiunt possint exprimere. Perenni Domino perpes sit gloria ex quo sunt, per quem sunt, in quo sunt omnia. Ex quo sunt, Pater est, per quem sunt, Filius, in quo sunt, Patris et filii Spiritus. The joy that is therein, Let those that know it answer Who in that bliss have part, If any word can utter The fullness of the heart. Now to the King Eternal Be praise eternally, From whom are all things, by whom And in whom all things be. From Whom, as from the Father By Whom, as by the Son, In Whom, as in the Spirit, God the Lord, Three in One. Peter Abelard, translated by Helen Waddell (Medieval Latin Lyrics)
The philosopher-cleric Peter Abelard (1079-1142) is as well-remembered today for his ill-fated relationship with his student, Heloise, as for his writings. What Jeffrey Lewis has referred