On the Holiday Lights program:
In honor of our Fifth Anniversary this season, we will sing two pieces from our very first holiday concert – that mentioned in the former post, “Carol from an Irish Cabin”, and “Northern Lights” by Norwegian-born composer Ola Gjelio.
The composer says “this piece is and its text are about beauty. About a ‘terrible’ beauty, powerful beauty, although the music is quite serene on the surface…” as Gjeilo was looking out his window in Oslo, Norway one Christmas he thought about how “this ‘terrible’ beauty is so profoundly reflected in the northern lights, or aurora borealis…” with such “electric quality…mesmerizing…terrifying…”
The stunning music sets the text:
Pulchra me, amica mea/suavis et decora sicut Jerusalem/terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinata/ Averte oculos tuos a me/quia ipsi me avolare fecerunt.
Thou art beautiful, O my love/ sweet and comely as Jerusalem/ terrible as an army set in array/ turn away thy eyes from me, for they have made me flee away.