O Magnum Mysterium (tr. Reynolds)

From Wind Repertory Project
Morten Lauridsen

Morten Lauridsen (trans. H. Robert Reynolds)

General Info

Year: 1994 / 2003
Duration: c. 6:00
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Choral
Publisher: Peer Music
Cost: Score & Parts - $85.00   |   Score Only - $9.95


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
French Horn I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Tuba I-II
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Suspended Cymbal


In Parts:

  • Clarinet I, m.14, beat 4: The B-flat should be tied to the next B-flat.

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!

0 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


State Ratings

  • Florida: V
  • Georgia: VI
  • Louisiana: IV
  • Maryland: IV
  • North Carolina: V
  • South Carolina: IV
  • Texas: IV. Complete
  • Wisconsin: Event 3000. Class A


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Ontario (Can.) Provincial Honour Band (Shelley Axelson, conductor) - 3 November 2023
  • Penn State University (University Park) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Tonya Mitchell-Spradlin, conductor) - 29 September 2023
  • Boston University Young Artists Wind Ensemble (H. Robert Reynolds, conductor) - 30 July 2023 (Tanglewood)
  • University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) Wind Ensemble (Travis J. Cross, conductor) – 31 May 2023
  • Ithaca (N.Y.) College Wind Ensemble (Rebekah Daniel, conductor) - 9 March 2023
  • Florida State University (Tallahassee) Symphonic Band (Michael Tignor, conductor) - 6 February 2023
  • South Bay Wind Ensemble (El Segundo, Calif.) (Steven Allen Fox, conductor) - 28 January 2023
  • United States Coast Guard Band (New London, Conn.) (Kelly Watkins, conductor) - 11 December 2022
  • Metropolitan Winds of Toronto (Ont., Can.) (Kevin Vuong, conductor) - 26 November 2022
  • Plano (Tx.) Community Band (Joe Frank, conductor) – 6 May 2022 (ACB 2022 Annual Convention (Santa Fe, New Mexico))
  • 2022 CBDNA Southwest Intercollegiate Honor Band (Waco, Tx.) (Allan McMurray, conductor) – 2 April 2022 (CBDNA 2022 Southwestern Conference, Waco, Tx.)
  • University of Oklahoma (Norman) Wind Symphony (Shanti Simon, conductor) - 9 March 2022
  • Southeastern Louisiana University (Hammond) Wind Symphony (Robert M. Schwartz, conductor) - 7 March 2022
  • Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Va.) Wind Ensemble (Kyle Remnant, conductor) - 11 December 2021
  • The Naperville (Ill.) Winds (Sean Kelley, conductor) - 9 December 2021
  • Cornell College (Mt. Vernon, Iowa) Symphonic Band (Joshua W. Neuenschwander, conductor) - 4 December 2021
  • University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Wind Ensemble (Devin Otto, conductor) - 12 May 2021
  • University of Delaware (Newark) Wind Ensemble (Lauren Reynolds, conductor) - 7 May 2021
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla) Wind Symphony (David Sampson, conductor) - 25 April 2021
  • Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.) Wind Ensemble (Madison Argo, conductor) - 23 April 2021
  • The Hartt School Omni-Wind Ensemble (West Hartford, Conn.) (Glen Adsit, conductor) - 23 April 2021
  • East Carolina University (Greenville, N.C.) Concert Band (Jay Juchniewicz, conductor) - 23 March 2021

Works for Winds by This Composer