Winner of the 2010 Spectrum Singers 30th Anniversary Choral Competition
World premiere: May 15, 2010, Spectrum Singers John Erlich director
Novum decus oritur
mundo nunc degenti,
salus Ade nascitur
Nunc cum iubilo cantemus simul adventum
salvatoris, qui alpha et o,
extitit principium et finis.
A new splendor arises
from the world now passing,
the salvation of Adam is born.
Now with joy together let us sing
of the Saviour, who as alpha and omega,
exists as beginning and end.
The text to Novum is one of my favorite sacred texts; there is such hope, praise, exaltation couched in poetry that views God like I do: the salvation of Adam, the beginning and end, the Savior of man. In composing music to this text, I wanted to maintain the reverence and awesome splendor in these thoughts and set the text to music that has a certain grandeur, depth and poignancy about it.
Formally, Novum journeys through a structure that I call “Cathedral” or “Cross” form. The opening of the piece begins in a wash of B major and is like first entering the grand entrance to a large cathedral. B major continues as we make our way down the nave of the church and explodes into an Eb major chord when we reach the central point between the two transepts, the crossroads directly in front of the chancel. The harmony shifts to A major as we explore the left transept and contemplate Jesus, the salvation of Adam, being born.
As we traverse to the right transept, the harmony shifts to E major as we sing with joy of the Savior, the alpha and omega, beginning and end. The soloist then enjoins us to sing of salvation and the Savior; there is a shift back to A major, and we arrive at the chancel, the forward altar, and consider how salvation came in the form of Jesus, the salvation of Adam’s race. The climax slowly grows and builds depicting this “new splendor” arising and the salvation of the world being born.