Stephen Paulus (1949 – 2014): Splendid Jewel

This is Paulus’ setting of ‘Splendid Jewel’ a fourteenth-century lauda found in the Florence Laudario. Laude were songs in praise of God (laudes Domini) written in vernacular Italian  and performed by Franciscan priests and other mendicant preachers in line with St Francis of Assisi’s instruction to his followers to preach and to sing God’s praises to the people. The fact that they were in Italian rather than Latin gave these laude a relevance and immediacy to the public which the Latin liturgy lacked. They became particularly important during the Holy Week processions of the faithful. As time passed the laude became ever more technically demanding and were performed by professional salaried musicians the laudesi. Paulus’ setting of an English language translation of the a lauda text makes use of vocal lines whose combinations of unisons or fourths and fifths evoke medieval chant which he augments and contrasts with music written in his own modern harmonic style to produce a remarkably enjoyable modern Marian motet. I was very taken with it, enjoy :-).


Stephen Paulus (1949 –  2014): Splendid Jewel

Hail, hail devout virgin, splendid jewel, Maria!
Now sing we with great delight of our
perfect love,
who prays for us to Christ who is our light and
Hail, hail devout virgin, splendid jewel, Maria!
All you whose minds are in heaven, now sing
rightly presenting this gift to Christ and the
Virgin Mary.
Hail, hail devout virgin.
High and glorious lady, mother of the most
merciful Jesus,
you are the rose of heaven, than which there is
none more beautiful.
Splendid Maria!
Hail, hail devout virgin, splendid jewel, Maria!

Laudi spirituali

Performers: Phoenix Chorale – Conducted By Charles Bruffy

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