While Duke Chapel is closed for in-person services, we are rebroadcasting selected services from our archives. To learn more about Choral Vespers, visit chapel.duke.edu/christian-worship/worship-services/choral-vespers.
Today’s re-broadcast of Vespers in Duke Chapel is from 26 April, 2018. This was the last Vespers service of the academic year, and it includes music that reflects both the Easter season, and the end of term: some of the pieces were included “by special request” by some of the singers who were finishing their studies at Duke.
The service begins and ends with music by the English composer John Sheppard (c. 1515-1558) who was choirmaster at Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1543, and a member of the Chapel Royal in 1552. The Introit is a hymn in praise of the Trinity: its slowly-moving bass part supports a rich, seven-part web of polyphony. In contrast, In manus tuas, sung at the Benediction, is a modest and gentle prayer for a safe night in God’s hands.
The remaining music comes from European composers:
Regina caeli is a Marian antiphon for Eastertide by the German composer Gregor Aichinger (c. 1565-1628), and the Canticle of Simeon (or Nunc dimittis) is by the 18th century Czech composer, František Tuma (1704-1774).
The anthem is by Johann Sebastian Bach (1675-1750): O Jesus Christ, light of my life has been described as “something between a cantata movement and a motet.” The lower voices of the choir sing counterpoint to the chorale melody in the top voice, supported by a gently rocking accompaniment from the organ.
Music in this service:
- Libera nos, salva nos by John Sheppard
- Easter People, Raise Your Voice (REGENT SQUARE)
- Regina caeli by Gregor Aichinger
- Canticum Simeonis by František Tuma
- O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht by Johann Sebastian Bach
- Hail, Thou Once Despised Jesus (IN BABILONE)
- In manus tuas by John Sheppard