Recordings of Fissinger's music are now ludicrously exensive and very hard to come by even if you are prepared to pay US$99.99 for a second-hand CD (I'm not). So I was very glad to see his 'Lux aeterna' on the track list for Stephen Layton and Trinity College Choir Cambridge's recent CD of late twentieth century American A Capella music. Fisssinger's career as a conductor and composer spanned forty-five years and was by no means confined to choral works of which he wrote one hundred and eighty three. All of his published music is certainly well worth listening to whether it's one of his orchestral, piano, or vocal compositions there's a lively and very distinctive musical imagination at work that attracted the attention of his fellow members of the American Choral Director’s Association of which he was a founder member. Perhaps that's why if you hear his work at all these days you tend to it hear it being such by All-State Choirs at regional and national ACDA conventions.
He composed Lux aeterna in 1982 dedicating it to the memory of his wife and one of his composition students who had been killed in a car accident. In it Fissinger combines Gregorian motifs with clustered chordal harmonisations that remind me more than somewhat of Holst's Nunc dimittis. As Lux aeterna progresses from its bottom-upward beginning you can hear the soloists voices flying free of the clustered choral textures as the souls, freed from earthly bondage begin their ascent. It's sung below by The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge conducted by Stephen Layton. Enjoy :-).