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OTHER "O Magnum Mysterium" settings?

In my upcoming "Animals and the Winter Holidays" Concert, I'd like to consider using several contrasting choral settings of "O Magnum Mysterium",  I'm already well-acquainted with wonderful settings by Victoria, Morten Lauridsen, and Nicholas White.  Can anyone recommend other settings which are in a completely different idiom (jazz, or othe "populist" styles, etc.)?  I certainly plan to use a few of these fine established settings, but would also like to "push the envelope" somewhat, and introduce my audiences to potentially unfamiliar settings as well.  It would probably be best not to have to much divisi beyond SATB this year.  Many thanks!
Replies (23): Threaded | Chronological
on June 1, 2012 10:18am
Dear Michael,
While it is not a "populist" style, I do think you might be interested in this setting published by Walton:
I can direct you to a perusal score if you are interested.
Best wishes,
Frank La Rocca
on June 1, 2012 10:25am
Hi Michael,
While the settings you mention are lovely, my absolute favorite setting is Poulenc's.  It's part of his grouping of Motets for Advent.  It is not jazzy but 20th century and perhaps slightly reminiscent of early music.  There are a few harmonies that make it truly 20th's gorgous but tough! It would be striking to pair it with the Victoria.


Applauded by an audience of 1
on June 1, 2012 10:30am
I think you would find the setting by Francis Poulenc "different" and contrasting to those you have listed.
Larry Smith
Missouri Baptist University
St. Louis MO
Applauded by an audience of 2
on June 2, 2012 6:35am
Hi again, Michael.
_____ 5199 O Magnum Mysterium (Score)
_____ 5708 O Magnum Mysterium (Choral score), NESTOR, Leo, (SATB, Brass, Percussion)
_____ 3137 O Magnum Mysterium (O Greatest of Mysteries) No. 2 from "Three Christmas Motets", ASHFORTH, Alden, (S solo, SATBB)
_____ 4927 O Magnum Mysterium (O Mystery beyond all Knowledge), MOCHNICK, John, (SATB)
_____ 1.5250 O Magnum Mysterium, BYRD, William, (SATB)
_____ 5888 O Magnum Mysterium, CONTE, David, (SSATB)
Best regards,
on June 2, 2012 7:20am
Michael, I don't know if Swiss composer, Carl Rutti's setting of O Magnum has been published or not. He sent me a copy of the manuscript and permitted us to duplicate and perform it. It's scored for 13 parts and is an astonishing piece--including a nod to jazz at the final cadence. There is a professional recording of the work (a British label--I'm writing this from home so don't have the details, but it's a recording of several of Rutti's choral works). We've had the pleasure of performing it twice, contrasting with the Victoria, Lauridsen, and Poulenc on those occasions.--Mark Mecham
on June 2, 2012 7:48am
Sally Herman has a lovely unaccompanied setting of this (one of my favorite Christmas texts of all time... being an animal lover...)published by Lorenz. I used to alternate it with the Poulenc, Lauridsen, and Vittoria settings over the years before I retired.
There are two decent performances of it to be found on Youtube.
I hope you are also considering programming Peter Warlock's "The First Mercy" text by P. Blunt...
Sounds like my kind of program!
Phil Micheal
out of detroit and in mexico
Applauded by an audience of 1
on June 2, 2012 9:24am
There is also an amazing setting by Pierre Villette (1926–1998), a French composer.
on June 2, 2012 10:39am
Good one Larry- and I would add that almost anything by Villette is amazing. He is not well-known unfortunately.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on June 2, 2012 12:29pm
David Bennett Thomas (Philadelphia) has an excellent setting of this. I apologize that I don't have his contact info handy, but I believe he is on faculty at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Robert A.M. Ross
on June 2, 2012 7:16pm
William Hawley has an interesting setting of the text.  It is a modern approach, of course.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on June 3, 2012 1:53am
I love the Poulenc and Villette, and the Byrd is a masterpiece.
There are other Renaissance settings (Clemens non Papa, Palestrina)
But I especially love Peter Maxwell Davies, which can be sung as a unison tune, or as a two-part work for SA, or in four parts (SATB).  I've done a concert with O magums scattered throughout, and used all three versions of the Davies and thought it was really effective.
Andrew Megill
Westminster Choir College
Montreal Symphony Orchestra
Carmel Bach Festival
Fuma Sacra
Applauded by an audience of 1
on June 3, 2012 7:37am
I know you don't want to go beyond SATB, but for others looking for O Magnum settings there is the polychoral setting by Giovanni Gabrieli. I have heard it done effectively with voices on one choir and instruments/organ on the second choir with a tenor solo.
David Childs has a lovely setting that would probably work for you.
Jeff DeMarco
on June 3, 2012 6:59pm
My friend, Brian Bondari has a beautiful setting of this text.  If you would like me to email it to you, please let me know.  Your group will love it.
on June 4, 2012 5:04am
By searching for "O Magnum Mysterium" in Musica database ( ) , you'll get 132 answers, many with a sound file or a video.
Good luck !
on June 4, 2012 7:57am
Hi, Michael --
I've got a setting that was commissioned by Choral Chameleon and premiered this past December in NYC.  It's SATB, no divisi.  It moves gently in 6/4 time and has very approachable modal harmonies, with a fugue on "Alleluia" at the end.  In total, it's about 5' long.  I'd be happy to send you a score/.mp3 if you're interested -- just send me a note.
All the best, and thanks for considering,
Joseph Gregorio
Applauded by an audience of 1
on June 4, 2012 9:59am
I would absolutely recommend a stunning version by Richard Busch - you can view the music and listen to a sample audio here:
on June 4, 2012 5:06pm
David Childs' setting (Santa Barbara Music Publishing) is wonderful.  See/hear at
on June 6, 2012 1:01am
Hi Michael,
I can't help but recommend my O MAGNUM MYSTERIUM (SATB, no divisi) setting.
Here a wonderful rendition with ECU Chamber singers.
If you are interested, contact me please.
music composer
on June 6, 2012 3:22pm
I think Nancy Galbraith has a setting of this and she is a great composer! Good luck with your project. Her works are available via Subito. ` Heather
on June 7, 2012 4:55am
The fairly recent setting by René Clausen is quite lovely. The original chant melody is quoted a couple of times. It is in 8 parts, but your group may be able handle this. I did this setting with a 25-voice choir of university students I think a recording of this has just been released by the Phoenix Chorale.
on June 8, 2012 5:19am
You might check out Ola Gjeilo's setting: Serenity (O Magnum Mysterium) 
on July 11, 2012 7:47am
Nicholas White and Paul Leavitt
on July 19, 2012 1:42pm
I know many Renaissance settings have been mentioned, but the de Morales ( ) is truly striking.
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