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Benedicite omnia opera (Oh all ye works of the Lord) (2017)

Instrumentation: SSAATTBB a cappella
Duration: ca. 9'
Text in English from the canticle of the same title, translation from the Book of Common Prayer (1662)
Commissioned by the Handel Choir of Baltimore
Premiere Date: March 3 and 4, 2017, Baltimore, MD

Program Note

I have always been attracted to cultures and stories which use song as a way to express the relationship between earthly existence and something more spiritual, more divine. This is present in systems ranging from Judeo-Christian imagery to that of J.R.R. Tolkien’s creation myth of Middle-Earth. In the canticle Benedicite, omnia opera, we hear a Biblical listing of all the Works of the Lord blessing the divine. Though this abundance of imagery certainly offers a great deal to work with, the repetition of the text proves a challenge: how does one create ongoing musical interest when most of the words are simply stated over and over? While a refrain-like nature does certainly come into play, I took this as an opportunity to explore a variety of textures and techniques which seemed to respond to the imagery at hand: for instance, the towering chords of “Let all the earth bless the Lord,” and the deep, yet buoyant setting of “O ye Whales,” all finally building into a raucous caterwaul where each individual singer is truly acting independently in their own agency.

Benedicite, omnia opera (“O all ye Works of the Lord”) was commissioned by Arian Khaefi and premiered on March 3, 2017, by the Handel Choir of Baltimore, guest conducted by Douglas Buchanan.

— Douglas Buchanan


Benedicite omnia opera



Benedicite omnia opera
Douglas Buchanan guest conducts the Handel Choir of Baltimore in the world premiere of his commissioned setting of "Benedicite, omnia opera," performed March 3, 2017, at St. David's Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland.


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