Hundreds of years ago, most of our sacred choral music was written entirely in Latin. Regular worship service or Mass, was led in Latin too. Musical composers in those days did not have the NIV, King James Bible, or the Korean Bible. So, they composed in Latin even though they were from Germany or somewhere else. Latin was the universal language for sacred music. Today, some people might have a hard time getting inspired by music in another language. I totally understand the point, but I still believe the Holy Spirit works in any form of language. I pray that you all enjoy how diverse God’s world is and join us to sing praises through these two beautiful pieces in Latin.
At this Sunday’s 11:00 AM service you will hear our anthem and offertory in Latin. There will be translation on the screen. The anthem , “Locus Iste” (This is God’s House) by Anton Bruckner, an early 19th century Austrian composer, was written for a dedication of a church in Linz, Austria. He wanted to describe that the sacrament is a visible manifestation of God’s invisible grace through the song. This beautiful anthem is written for four parts a cappella. The Sanctuary and Chamber Choirs will sing together for this anthem.
The Chamber Choir will sing the offertory, “Exsultate Deo” (Come Rejoice and Sing) by Palestrina, a 16th century Italian composer. The song is based on Psalm 81:1-3: “Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! Begin the music, strike the timbrel, play the melodious harp and lyre. Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our festival.” The song is a joyful praise sung in polyphony. Polyphony is a texture consisting of two or more independent melodic voices, as opposed to music with just one voice (monophony) or music with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords (homophony). It is a challenging piece to sing, but it brings a joyful sound!
Here are the lyrics for the anthem. I pray that we all proclaim in song that this is God’s house.
This is God’s house, a temple He has made.
O holy covenant beyond all telling, worthy of His glorious name.
This is God’s house, a temple He has made, a temple God, the Lord has made.