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O Magnum Mysterium (Syler)

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James Syler

James Syler

General Info

Year: 1996
Duration: c. 12:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Ballerbach Music
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental ($250.00)   |   Score Only (print) - $25.00


Full Score
Flute I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-VI
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III-IV
String Bass

Soprano Voice


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

O Magnum Mysterium (1996) is an ancient Christmas day text that describes the great mystery of God becoming man – even the animals behold him. In this setting I attempt to transcend time and space by juxtaposing the nativity scene with the crucifixion scene – Christ’s entrance and exit in this world. Now the “great mystery” is intensified as we see Christ, not as the sentimentalized baby in a manger, but as the God-man who will grow up and become the atoning sacrifice on the cross. As we approach the meaning and mystery of Christ in this way our intellect and spirit are forced to wrestle with the undeniable questions of “Who is Jesus?” and “What does He mean to me?” In creating this work it’s been my desire to catch a glimpse of the weight of this mystery.


O great mystery and wondrous
thing that the animals behold
the newborn Lord lying in a manger.
Crucify him! Crucify him!
Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.
O Blessed Virgin, whose womb
was worthy to bear the Lord Jesus Christ.
My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?
It is finished.
Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.
Surely this man was the Son of God.
Who do you say I am?

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of North Texas (Denton) Wind Ensemble (Nicholas E. Williams, conductor; Carol Wilson, soprano) – 22 February 2018

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

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