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Text: Aurelius Prudentius (348-C.410) 
Language: Latin 
Use: Concert 
Ensemble: SATB (div.), S solo 
Accompaniment: a cappella 
Duration: 14.0 minutes 
Page Count: 21 
Catalog Number: NWC-154

Available from Art of Sound Music

Sample Score

Hymnus Matutinus is a concert suite in five movements for a cappella choir: 

Nox, et lux 
Inde est 
Dulce Canunt Melos 
Venerat Occiduis 
Christe, redde lumen 

Aurelius Prudentius (348-C.415) 

Notes: 

Nox et Lux (Darkness and Light) - The dark of night contrasts the light of dawn which symbolizes the coming of Christ. 

Inde est (Thence it is) - From this hour of quiet Christ comes from Hell; the glories of the world are transient and vain. Awaken. Here is truth. 

Dulce Canunt melos (Sweetly singing songs) - This expresses an outpouring of joy at the coming of spring and summer. The poem is full of exuberance, and the music is quite breathless with changing meters, making it sound a bit out of control and also with a bit of subtle laughter, building up and overflowing in breathless glee. Eventually the energy wanes and the basses end this frolic with a solo upward flourish. It all starts over again and eventually sounds as if the singers simply walk away. 

Venerat Occiduis (Come from the confines) - Here we have more exuberance with less giddiness yet swaying from being lost in the delights of the wine cup. As the piece proceeds, I bring it back to the center of reality with a repeating of the word “ibat” (“step”) and juxtapose “Christus fidelibus” over it (“Christ in faithfulness”). 

Christe, redde lumen (Christ give back your light) - This is a prayer to Christ the Captain, maker of the light, to deliver His people from the chaos of darkness. 

Texts and translations: 

1. Nox, et lux 
Nox, et tenebrae, et nubila 
confusa mundi et turbida, 
lux intrat, albescit polus, 
Christus venit, discedite! 

Caligo terrae scinditur 
percussa solis spiculo, 
rebusque iam color redit 
vultu nitentis sideris. 

 Night and light 
O night, darkness and earthly clouds, 
thrown into earthly confusion, be gone! 
Light enters, the sky grows white and Christ comes. 

The darkness of earth, 
struck by a shaft of sunlight, is torn apart. 
Color now returns to things 
from the glance of the shining sun. 

 2. Inde est 
Inde est, quod omnes credimus, 
Illo quietis tempore, 
Quo gallus exsultans canit, 
Christum redisse ex inferis. 

 Sunt nempe falsa et frivola, 
Quae mundiali gloria, 
Ceu dormientes, egimus: 
Vigilemus hic est veritas. 

Thence it is 
Christ, as we all believe, 
returned from hell 
at that hour of quiet 
when the crock crows joyfully. 

False and worthless 
is the acclaim of the world, which we pursue. 
Let us be watchful 
(for) here is Truth. 

3. Dulce Canunt Melos 
Illic purpureis tecta rosariis 
omnis fragrat humas, calthaque pinguia, 
et molles violas, et tenues crocos 
fundit fonticulis uda fugacibus. 

 Felices animae prata per herbida 
concentu parili suave sonantibus 
hymnorum modulis dulce canunt melos 
calcant et pedibus lilia candidis. 

They sing a sweet song 
There, all the land covered with roses 
is sweet and, wet from running streams, 
pours forth full marigolds, 
soft violets and slender crocuses. 

 Happy souls, their white feet lily-shod, 
sing a sweet melody 
as they go through grassy meadows, 
singing hymns in pleasant harmonies. 

 4. Venerat Occiduis 
Venerat occiduis mundi de finibus hostis 
Luxuria, extinctae iamdudum prodiga famae, 
delibuta comas, oculis vaga, languida voce, 
perdita deliciis.... 
lapsanti per vina et balsama gressu, 
ebria calcatis ad bellum floribus ibat. 

Luxury had come from the West 
Extravagant with her fame long dead, 
the enemy Luxury had come from the western boundaries of the world – 
hair let down, eyes wild, speech slurred 
and lost to her fancies..... 
with unsteady step through vine and balsam-tree, 
she, drunk, trampling the flowers on her way to war. 

5. Christe, redde lumen 
Inventor rutili, dux bone, luminis, 
qui certis vicibus tempora dividis, 
merso sole, chaos ingruit horridum 
lumen redde tuis, Christe, fidelibus. 

 Christ, give back the light 
O good leader, maker of the golden light, 
who divides the days into definite shapes, 
(when) the sun sets savage chaos comes on. 
O Christ, give light back to your faithful people.