Magi viderunt stellam

Posted on 6th January 2021 by simonbeattie

As today is Epiphany, I thought I’d share another piece of mine, an experiment in using a cantus firmus within a modern musical idiom, from 2007. The chant itself comes from a setting by the Portuguese Renaissance composer Pedro de Cristo (1545/50–1618), which I decided to pair with words from Lancelot Andrewes’ Christmas sermon for 1622. T. S. Eliot used them, too, of course, for the opening of ‘Journey of the Magi’. Many readers probably do not realise that the words at the beginning of the poem are not Eliot’s own, but there is a clue: he puts them in quotation marks. 

You can listen to my setting here:

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