Monday, November 14, 2016

A Visual Interpretation of Sacred Choral Music

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Seiben Magnificat Antiphonen & Nunc Dimittis

An Interpretation in Color, Movement and Texture

This series of paintings, created by Minnesotan artist Robyn Sand Anderson, was inspired by the musical compositions of Arvo Pärt, an internationally acclaimed Estonian composer. Specifically, she explores Pärt’s “Magnificat” and “Nunc Dimittis,” as well as his set of seven “O Antiphons” as recorded by the South Dakota Chorale under the direction of Dr. Brian Schmidt, Assistant Conductor and Administrative Coordinator of Chapel Music.

By reading and studying the texts and then listening to each track on the album “Sacred Songs of Life & Love”, Sand Anderson reimagined the audio soundscape into acrylic color, movement and texture on 22x30 gesso board. Sand Anderson was previously commissioned by Duke Chapel to create artwork inspired by Dietrich Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri, which was performed by the Vespers Ensemble. These paintings can be seen in the nave in the Easter season.

Duke Chapel welcomes the exhibit to Chapel walls well versed in sacred sounds.

Viewers are invited to listen to the tracks below as they view each piece.

I. O Wisdom
II. O Adonai
III. O Root of Jesse
IV. O Key of David
V. O Morning Star
VI. O King of All People
VII. O Emmanuel
Nunc Dimittis


My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.
For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For, behold, from henceforth
All generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me,
And holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him
Throughout all generations.
He hath shown strength with his arm;
He hath scattered the proud
In the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat
And hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath helped his servant Israel,
As he promised to our forefathers,
Abraham and his seed forever.
—Luke 1:46-55

I. O Wisdom

O Wisdom,
Proceeding from the mouth of the Most High,
You encompass the world from one end to the other,
With power and moderation you ordain all things:
O come and show us the way of wisdom
And of understanding.
O Wisdom.

II. O Adonai

O Adonai,
Lord and leader of the house of Israel,
In the flaming thorn bush
Were you revealed to Moses
And upon the mountain you gave him your law.
O come and deliver us with thy strong arm.

III. O Root of Jesse

O root of the stem of Jesse,
Stand forward as a sign for the people,
Before you the rulers of the earth are struck dumb,
The people cry out to you:
O come and deliver us, stir thyself,
delay no longer.

IV. O Key of David

O key of David,
Sceptre of the house of Israel,
You open something, none can close it,
You close something, and no power may open it;
O come and open the prison of darkness
And the chain of death.

V. O Morning Star

O morning star,
Gleam of pure light,
Shining sun of righteousness;
O come and lighten those who sit in darkness
And in the shadow of death.

VI. O King of All People

O king of all people,
Their expectation and desire,
Cornerstone, which holds all things together:
O come and save mankind,
Which you constructed on earth!

VII. O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel,
Our king and teacher,
Hope and Savior of the people:
O come, hurry and bring us help,
You our Lord and our God.

Nunc Dimittis

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace,
According to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people,
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles,
And to be the glory of thy people Israel.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen.
—Luke 2:29-32

The Chapel views the creative arts as both an expression of the worship of God and an expression of human longing for God. By creating art from the materials of creation, humanity takes part both in the broken beauty of our creatureliness and of its glory. Read more on how the Chapel is exploring faith through the arts in the strategic plan.