Heaven on earth – Eric Whitacre’s Lux Aurumque at Choral Evensong

St Mary the Less, Durham
St John’s College Chapel of St Mary the Less in the snow

Tonight at St John’s College Evensong the anthem was Eric Whitacre’s Lux Aurumque. I first came across this piece of music through the Virtual Choir project which I’ve written about before so I was delighted to see that it was the anthem set for this evening. We are still in the Epiphany season (just) and so it was apt to have a hymn praising the Christ child, here are the lyrics:

calida gravisque pura velut aurum
et canunt angeli molliter
modo natum.

Light, warm and heavy as pure gold and the angels sing softly to the new-born baby.

(Words: Eric Esch, translated into Latin by Charles Antony Silvestri).

I had to post this recording up on my blog, it doesn’t capture really what it was like to hear it live in the little chapel of St Mary the Less in Durham but it genuinely felt like hearing a choir of angels:

When Eric Whitacre composed the piece he posted the sheet music up on his website and encouraged choristers from around the world to record themselves singing their part and send it in to him. Here is the result:

Heaven on earth for me in many senses of the word!

Since this first video Whitacre has made two more, with even more voices – now thousands rather than hundreds. Here are the new ones:


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