Three Christmas Motets

Three Christmas Motets
Dan Locklair (b. 1949)

Three Christmas Motets (for SATB Choir, divisi, a cappella) was composed during the summer of 1993 and is dedicated to Brian Gorelick and the Wake Forest University Choir (Winston-Salem, North Carolina). All three Latin Christmastide texts come from the Liber usualis and have English translations by my Wake Forest University colleague, Robert W. Ulery, Jr. (Professor Emeritus, Classical Languages).

The rhythmical Quem Vidistis Pastores?, presenting excited questions to the shepherds concerning Christ’s birth, alternates in antiphonal fashion the sections of the men and women of the choir.

O Magnum Mysterium
, serenely celebrating both the birth of Jesus and Brian Gorelick’s first-born son, David, is lyrical and rich in its texture as it, too, alternates between the men’s and women’s sections of the choir. Although the entire cycle is based around the note “G”, O Magnum Mysterium, in particular, is based on the pitches of Dr. Gorelick’s son’s initials: “DEG.”

Continuing the antiphonal alternation between the men’s and women’s sections of the choir, Hodie Christus Natus Est musically heralds the announcement of Christ’s birth with exuberant eight-part polyphony occurring near the end.

Three Christmas Motets received its World Premiere on 9 December 1993 by the Wake Forest University Concert Choir (Brian Gorelick, Conductor).

Dan Locklair
Winston-Salem, North Carolina (USA)