Mixed Chorus Unaccompanied
Text: Liturgical (Latin)
Duration: ca. 3.5 minutes
Publisher: C. F. Peters Corporation, Edition Peters 67489
On Saturday night, the Gregg Smith Singers presented a wide-ranging program of American choral music from the 1980s. All the works tried a return to tonality typical of the decade; the most successful made the return oblique and ambiguous. Hayes Biggs’ O Sacrum Convivium took off from the motet of Tallis, yet it handsomely reconfigured early modes in a modernistic scheme of free tonality.
[Biggs’] two motets form interesting contrasts; whereas O Magnum Mysterium organically explores blocks of sound (and silence), O Sacrum Convivium is more episodic and contrapuntal. Both are very moving works, but the exploration of melodic thirds and sixths of O sacrum reach a piercingly beautiful climax in the extended Alleluias. I commend it especially to you; it has been a major part of my Lent.