Morten Lauridsen …. about his Lux Aeterna

Lux Aeterna–Eternal Light–is an intimate work of quiet serenity centered around a universal symbol of hope, reassurance, goodness and illumination at all levels. This work formed in my mind over several years, and I began serious work on the piece shortly following the completion of Les Chansons des Roses in 1993. I put aside the Lux in early 1994 to compose the Christmas canticle, O Magnum Mysterium. The serenity and the uncomplicated and lyric style of O Magnum Mysterium are continued in Lux Aeterna, which is fashioned on texts from several different Latin sources, including the requiem mass, each containing a reference to Light.

Paul Salamunovich, conductor of the Los Angeles Master Chorale for whom I composed this cycle, considers Lux Aeterna to be one long chant. That did not happen by accident–I was writing for one of the world’s foremost experts not only on Gregorian chant but of Renaissance music in general–and while I do not incorporate an overt reference to the single line chant anywhere in the piece, the conjunct and flowing melodic lines contributing to the works’ overall lyricism and the chant-like phrase structures creating a seamlessness throughout certainly have their underpinnings in the chant literature. Renaissance procedures abound throughout Lux Aeterna.