So Hallow’d the Time, No. 4: Light

“Ring Out, ye crystal spheres”

SATB, harp or piano.

Premiered by the Taylor Festival Choir in December 2014, this is the fourth of a five-movement cycle entitled So Hallow’d the Time. The full work premiered in 2017, and was released on a Delos recording in 2020.


O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis

—from ‘O Antiphons’, 7th century
[O Dayspring, splendor of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.]

Such musick (as ’tis said)
Before was never made,
But when of old the sons of morning sung,
While the Creator Great
His constellations set,
And the well-balanc’d world on hinges hung;…

Ring out, ye crystal spheres,
Once bless our human ears,
If ye have power to touch our senses so;
And let your silver chime
Move in melodious time…

Yea, Truth and Justice then
Will down return to men,
Orb’d in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing,
Mercy will sit between…
And Heaven, as at some festival,
Will open wide the gates of her high palace hall.

—from Ode on the Morning of Christ’s Nativity, John Milton