O Magnum Mysterium (arr Buerkle)

From Wind Repertory Project
Morten Lauridsen

Morten Lauridsen (arr. Brian Buerkle)

General Info

Year: 1994 /
Duration: c. 6:20
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Manuscript
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


Full Score
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Flugelhorn I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV -V
Trombone I-II-III
Tuba I-II
String Bass


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Morten Lauridsen’s choral setting of O Magnum Mysterium (O Great Mystery) has become one of the world’s most performed and recorded compositions since its 1994 premiere by the Los Angeles Master Chorale conducted by Paul Salamunovich. The work was commissioned by Marshall Rutter in honor of his wife Terry Knowles.

About his setting, Morten Lauridsen writes: "For centuries, composers have been inspired by the beautiful O Magnum Mysterium text with its depiction of the birth of the newborn king amongst lowly animals and shepherds. This affirmation of God’s grace to the meek and the adoration of the Blessed Virgin are celebrated in my setting through a quiet song of profound inner joy."

Recordings of Lauridsen’s music have received numerous GRAMMY nominations, and the composer was a 2007 recipient of the National Medal of Arts. H. Robert Reynolds arranged the symphonic wind version of this popular work with the approval and appreciation of the composer.

O Magnum Mysterium

O magnum mysterium
et admirabile sacramentum
ut animalia viderent Dominum
natum jacetum in praesepio!
Beata Virgo, cujus viscera
meruerunt portare
Dominum Christum. Alleluia!

O great mystery,
and wondrous sacrament,
that animals should see the new-
born Lord, lying in their manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear the
Lord Jesus Christ. Alleluia!

- Program Note by Catharine Sinon Bushan, University of Texas

O Magnum Mysterium is a chant from the Matins of Christmas. This version is from the composer Morten Lauridsen who explains his 1994 piece as follows: “In composing music to these inspirational words about Christ's birth and the veneration of the Virgin Mary, I sought to impart a transforming spiritual experience within what I call ‘a quiet song of profound inner joy.’ I wanted this piece to resonate immediately and deeply into the core of the listener, to illumine through sound.” Listen for the dissonant note on the word “Virgo”, which Lauridsen calls the most important note of the piece, focusing on the Virgin Mary.

- Program Note courtesy of Exsultate.org


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer