Interviews / Los Angeles Master Chorale / Music News & Info: Classical

Morten Lauridsen shares a truly amazing story about visiting Paul Salamunovich in the hospital

Morten Lauridsen, Composer in Residence, and Paul SalamunovichIf there is any doubt about the power of music, this story from composer Morten Lauridsen about conductor Paul Salamunovich, his dear friend and collaborator who just passed away, should erase all of it:

When I spoke to Dr. Lauridsen a few weeks ago, one of the things we discussed was that he had recently visited Mr. Salamunovich in the hospital, and he confirmed the story again with me today.  The Music Director Emeritus of the Los Angeles Master Chorale had been in the hospital for quite some time, and was unresponsive and comatose for weeks.

“I approached his bed,” Dr. Lauridsen remembers, “and whispered in his ear, ‘Paul, your composer is here. Please wake up so you can conduct the O Magnum Mysterium and Lux Aeterna again.’ ”

“When I said those words, and each time I mentioned the names of those pieces that I had written for him that he premiered and recorded with the LA Master Chorale, his right arm went up (still attached to tubes) and his hand began waving in the air, as if he were conducting these pieces. The very mention of those works caused him to physically respond even while in a deep coma.”

“It was a profound and magical moment that I, his wife Dottie and the attending nurse will never forget.”

The composer shared this parting thought about his friend:  “I’m sure that at this moment he is conducting a choir of angels, instructing them on the very best way to approach and sing a high note.”

—————

Here are the Latin words (and the English translation) that inspired Dr. Lauridsen to write the music to Lux Aeterna.  The piece was originally meant to honor the composer’s dying mother, but I’m confident that today, many people in the world — including the composer — are thinking about these prayers and the person who premiered the radiant composition with the Los Angeles Master Chorale nearly twenty years ago:

I. Introitus

 Requiem Aeternam dona eis, domine:
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus Deus in Zion
et tibi redetur votum
in Jerusalem:
exaudi orationem mean,
ad te omnis caro veniet.
Requiem Aeternam Dona eis, Domine:
et lux perpetua luceat eis
Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them
A hymn befits thee, O God in Sion.
and to thee a vow shall be fulfilled
in Jerusalem:
Hear my prayer,
for unto thee all flesh shall come.
Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.

II. In Te, domine, Speravi

 Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem
non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu devicto mortis aculeo,
aperuisti credentibus regna coelorum.
Exprtum est in tenebris lumen rectis.
Miserere nostri, Domine
miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua, domine, super nos
quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te domine, speravi:
non confundar in aeternum.
To deliver us, you became human,
and did not disdain the virgin’s womb.
having blunted the sting of death, You
Opened the Kingdom of heaven to all believers.
A light has risen in the darkness for the upright.
haver mercy upon us, O Lord,
Have mercy upon us.
Let thy mercy be upon us, O Lord,
as we have trusted in thee.
In thee, O Lord, I have trusted
let me never be confounded.

III. O Nata Lux

O nata lux de lumine,
jesu redemptor saeculi,
dignare clemens supplicum
Laudes preces que sumere.
Qui carne quondam contegi
dignatus es pro perditis.
Nos membra confer effici,
tui beati corporis.
O born light of light,
Jesus, redeemer of the owrld,
mercifully deem worthy and accept
the praises and prayers of your supplicants.
thou who once deigned to be clothed in flesh
for the sake of the lost ones.
grant us to be made members
of your holy body.

IV. Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Veni, Sancte Spiritus,
Et emitte coelitus
Lucis tuae radium.
Veni, pater pauperum,
Veni, dator munerum,
Veni, lumen cordium.Consolator optime,
Dulcis hospes animae,
Dulce refrigerim.
In labore ruquies,
In aestu temperies,
In fletu solatium.

O lux beatissima,
Reple cordis intima
Tuorum fidelium.
Sine tuo numine
Nihil est in homnie,
Nihil est innoxium.

Lava quod est sordidum,
Riga quod est aridum.
Sana quod est sucium.
Flecte quod est rigidum,
Fove quod est frigidum
Rege quod est devium.

Da tuis fidelibus,
In te confidentibus,
Sacrum septenarium.
Da virtutis meritum,
Da salutis exitum,
Da perenne gaudium.

Come, Holy spirit,
send forth from heaven
the ray of thy light
come, Father of the poor
Come, giver of gifts
come, light of hearts.Thou best of consolers,
Sweet guest of the soul
Sweet refreshment.
In labor, thou art rest,
In heat, the tempering,
In grief, the consolation.

O light most blessed,
fill the inmost heart
of all thy faithful
without your grace,
there is nothing in us,
Nothing that is not harmful.

Cleanse what is sordid,
moisten what is arid,
heal what is hurt
flex what is rigid
fire what is frigid
correct what goes astray

Grant to thy faithful,
those trusting in thee,
thy sacred seven-fold gifts
Grant the reward of virtue
Grant the deliverance of salvation
grant everlasting joy.

V. Agnus Dei – Lux Aeterna

 Agnus Dei,
qui tollis peccata mundi,
dona eis requiem.Agnus Dei,
qui tollis peccata mundi,
dona eis requiem.Agnus Dei,
qui tollis peccata mundi,
dona eis requiem sempiternam.Lux aeterna luceat eis, domine:
cum sanctis tuis in aeternum:
quia pius es.Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,
et Lux perpetua luceat eis.Amen.   Alleluia.
Lamb of god,
who takest away the sins of the world,
grant them rest.Lamb of god,
who takest away the sins of the world,
grant them rest.Lamb of god,
who takest away the sins of the world,
grant them everlasting rest.Eternal light shine upon them, O Lord
in the company of thy Saints forever
for thou art merciful.Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.Amen.   Alleluia.

—————

Photo credit:  courtesy of the Los Angeles Master Chorale

Advertisements

One thought on “Morten Lauridsen shares a truly amazing story about visiting Paul Salamunovich in the hospital

  1. Pingback: Paul Salamunovich, 1927-2014 | oboeinsight

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s