John Rutter: Most Glorious Lord of Life

from by Harvard University Choir

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One of the most prolific composers of choral music today, John Rutter was educated at Clare College, Cambridge, where he later became Director of Music. In 1981 he formed the Cambridge Singers with whom he has recorded widely on his own label, Collegium Records. Most well-known for his Christmas carols and arrangements, Rutter edited the hugely successful Carols for Choirs anthologies with Sir David Willcocks, and has been called “the world's greatest living composer and conductor of choral music.” “Most Glorious Lord of Life” was commissioned in memory of Milan A. Heath Jr. ’59, and premiered by the Harvard University Choir on Easter Day, 2010. A setting of Edmund Spenser’s beautiful sonnet (Amoretti LXVIII), the anthem opens with an instrumental introduction that builds to a rousing choral entrance. The arching melody at the words “And that thy love” is quintessential Rutter, and the work concludes with a grand statement of the Easter hymn, “The Day of Resurrection.”

lyrics

Most glorious Lord of life, that on this day
Didst make thy triumph over death and sin,
And having harrow’d hell, didst bring away
Captivity thence captive, us to win.
This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin,
And grant that we may for whom thou diddest die,
Being with thy dear blood clean wash’d from sin,
May live for ever in felicity.
And that thy love we weighing worthily,
May likewise love thee for the same again;
And for Thy sake, that all like dear didst buy,
With love may one another entertain.
So let us love, dear love, like as we ought;
Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.
The day of resurrection! Earth, tell it out abroad;
The Passover of gladness, the Passover of God.
From death to life eternal, from earth unto the sky,
Our Christ hath brought us over, with hymns of victory. Amen.

Edmund Spenser, 1595
John of Damascus (675–749),
translated from the Greek by John Mason Neale, 1862

credits

from Spring Bursts Today: A Celebration of Eastertide, released April 20, 2014

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Harvard University Choir Cambridge, Massachusetts

For over 175 years the Harvard University Choir has provided a unique opportunity for student singers to perform choral literature at the highest level, both in concert and during the services of the Memorial Church. Its program of daily choral services, broadcasts, tours, commissions, and recordings make it one of the premier college chapel ensembles in the United States. ... more

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