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
Spirit of the new-formed earth
Sang the poem of her creation
Lit the stars and gave the world breath
He, the well-spring of all music
and the silence at its end, was and is and ever shall be.

Song of spirit ever flowing
Long before the years began
Forged the earth and sea and heavens
Pattern of the three in one
He, who dwells be-neath the golden sun
And the silver sphere of moon
Was and is and ever shall be.

Blessed star of morning
Maiden giving birth
Bears the fruit of our salvation
Brings our Heart-child to earth.
He who comes to set the circle free
And to show his holy face
Was and is and ever shall be.

Rippling gold of heaven
Angel harps give melody
Holy tongues and human voices
Choir of pure harmony
He, of whom the ancient poet sang
As our strength and victory
Was and is and ever shall be

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