Heart-Child of the Spirit

SATB / organ, 4 handbells, windchimes or Zimbelstern

With the familiar tune we associate with “Of The Father’s Love Begotten,” DIVINUM MYSTERIUM, these words more accurately reflect the old Latin chant “Corde natus ex Parentis.” “You, the well-spring of all music, You, the silence at its end, were and are and ever shall be.” The handbell parts are simple, and can be played by the singers. Score below.

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PROGRAM NOTES

With the familiar tune we associate with “Of The Father’s Love Begotten,” DIVINUM MYSTERIUM, these words more accurately reflect the old Latin chant “Corde natus ex Parentis.” “You, the well-spring of all music, You, the silence at its end, were and are and ever shall be.” The words date from the 4th century CE, and the tune from the 11th century. The accompaniment starts with long, sustained chords, derived from the chant, and develops to a rich climax born of the ancient technique of using parallel fifths and thirds to create harmony.

NOTES ON PREPARATION AND PERFORMANCE

The bells can be played by two players without need for changing bells. The chimes or zimbelstern start and stop times are not exact, and should simply provide a very quiet background texture. If the windchimes can appear to sound from someplace far away, all to the better.

The voice parts are almost completely simple chant. Be sure to maintain the normal inflection of the lines, no matter where you line up with the other parts.

TEXT

–Nancy Welliver, based on “Corde natus ex Parentis”
by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, 4th century CE

Heart-Child of the Spirit
Came before the world was fresh
Sang the poem of Earth’s creation
Lit the stars and gave the wind breath
You, the well-spring of all music
You, the silence at its end, were and are and ever shall be.

Earth and sacred heavens
Swelling from the breaking sea
These the holy words eternal
Prayed by you, the One in Three
Every soul beneath the glowing sun
And the sphere of silver moon
Gathers and rejoices

Blessed star of morning
Maiden giving birth
Bears the fruit of our salvation
Brings our Heart-Child to earth.
You have come to set the circle free
Show us now your holy face
Budding rose of dawning

Angel harps give melody
Rippling golden strings
Holy tongues and human voices
Choir of pure harmony
You of whom the ancient poets sang
Grace us here eternally
You who are and ever shall be

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