Music News & Info: Classical

“O Magnum Mysterium” by Tomás Luis de Victoria

The classic Latin chant about Christmas, O Magnum Mysterium, has been set to music by many distinguished composers over the centuries, ranging from Palestrina to John Harbison.  Morten Lauridsen’s 1994 version has since gone on to be a modern-day classic and the best selling chorale octavo ever sold by the Theodore Presser Company.

As absolutely amazing as the Lauridsen motet is — especially as sung by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, who also happened to sing the world premiere of the work — my favorite continues to be the one by Tomás Luis de Victoria composed about 400 years earlier.  Enjoy this performance by The Cambridge Singers, and have a very Merry Christmas!


Latin text

O magnum mysterium, et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum, jacentem in praesepio!
Beata Virgo, cujus viscera meruerunt portare Dominum Christum.

English translation

O great mystery, and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord, lying in a manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb was worthy to bear Christ the Lord.

4 thoughts on ““O Magnum Mysterium” by Tomás Luis de Victoria

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