The fifth of Arvo Pärt’s settings for the O Antiphons is O Morgenstern, “O Morning Light.” Newer translations of the Latin of this antiphon render it “O Radiant Dawn.” (Members of our parish will recall the choir’s singing of the setting of this antiphon by James MacMillan, which uses this translation.)
O Morning Star,
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
Unlike MacMillan’s setting, which suggests a sudden flash of light, Pärt’s treatment of this invocation of the Light of the world shimmers, it glows, it radiates rather than bursts. Like the dawn, it conveys a bright, quiet confidence that more is to come.
This performance of Pärt’s O Morgenstern is by the Latvian Radio Choir, conducted by Sigvards Kļava.
O Morgenstern, Glanz des unversehrten Lichtes:
O morning star, incandescence of pure light,
Der Gerechtigkeit strahlende Sonne:
Radiant sun of righteousness;
O komm und erleuchte, die da sitzen in Finsternis,
O come and enlighten Those who sit there in darkness
und im Schatten des Todes.
and in the shadow of death.