Hail, Holy Light

SATB/SATB S Solo, a cappella. Published by Carus-Verlag. Release May 2011. CV 09.920/00.
John Milton. Duration: 6 minutes



sample pages

"Hail, Holy Light" was commissioned by the University of Utah Singers, directed by Brady Allred, and premiered by them at the 2009 International Chamber Choir Competition in Marktoberdorf, Germany,  where it won first prize and subsequently published by Carus-Verlag.

"Hail Holy Light" is a depiction of the contrast between the darkness and void of nothingness without God and the motion and richness of life in God's light.


The piece begins extremely softly, as if the music is coming forth out of another realm and is barely reaching our ears.  Text: first words of Genesis: "In the beginning . . . and darkness was upon the face of the earth."  Out of this darkness and gloom we hear a brilliant high solo voice announcing the coming of God "on the face of the waters."  Immediately the chorus bursts forth with the activity of God's presence.


At this point we become aware of two separate choirs carrying partial phrases back and forth between them, almost as if there is so much to tell that they have to interrupt each other.


As Choir I releases a full chord we hear the intimate sound of Choir II rendering one hushed and simple line of the Latin Gregorian chant text "Veni sancte spiritus" (come holy spirit).  This happens quietly and unobtrusively as befits the aspect of God which is the holy spirit.  The two choirs now invoke the holy spirit and as they are doing so, the voices of the men in Choir II protrude from the texture, singing, "And God said, let there be light."


We have now reached the central focus of the piece.  The remainder describes, in Latin and the beautiful flowery English of John Milton, the radiance that is God.


The last phrase invokes, in the Gregorian Latin text, the aspect of God's light that is the holy spirit.  It is more subdued because to me the light of the holy spirit is more a glow than a bright light.


"...With Peace In Mind"




Sample Tracks

NEW! Summer 2014


The Beatitudes SATB, organ


O Nata Lux SATB, a cappella


Songs of the Spirit  Four SATB a cappella settings of poems by William Blake.

Music When Soft Voices Die Two-part treble duet with piano accompaniment, poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Londonderry Air, arranged for organ solo.