Motet nr 4
Commissioned by St Jacobs Chamber Choir and Gary Graden.
Composed in 2006/07
First performance in St Jacobs Church, Stockholm, May 31 2007.
Published by Gehrmans
Performance notes for To The Unknown God:
The choir is supposedly 32 singers. It is divided into three groups, I, II, III.
Group I is an octet. It is placed with faces towards the altar in the middle. During bars 123-129, the group turns around towards the conductor. The basses and altos join group III, and only the tenors and sopranos remain for the ending solo cadenza in part E.
Group II is a solo quartet (if required an octet). Placed to the right of the conductor.
Group III is the tutti chorus, placed to the left of the conductor. If it consists of 20 singers (5 Sopranos, 5 Altos, 5 tenors, 5 Basses) then the division inside each part should be 2 high and three low.
The piece has an organ part. It is extremely simple and should not be omitted. If the piece is performed in another room than a church, then the organ part should be replaced by its electronic equivalent (available through www.electronic-opera.com)
The organ part could and should be played by a nontrained organist, as it consists of one tone, used twice. The organ should be registered ”as low and soft as possible. I.e. 32´ (then omit the G) or a Subbas 16´ (then use the G to create the sound of at 32´)
It is the composers wish that ”To The Unknown God” is performed by heart, and without handheld music. It is divided into five distinct parts, A, B, C, D, E.
The texts are from two sources; the Latin is from an altar in Skara dome church from the 12th century. The text is supposedly written by the Bishop Brynolf Algotsson:
SUPPLICAMUS IESU BONE
NOS PERDUCAS VI CORONE
AD CORONAM GLORIE
TUA SPINA NOS CONFORTET
UT MENS NOSTRA LETA PORTET
and is translated into Swedish:
Gode Jesus, låt din krona all vår synd försona, föra oss till himlens glans.
Må din törntagg oss beskära kraft att botens törne bära likt en härlig ärekrans.
The English text is from Acts 17:23-24, King James Bible.
The piece To The Unknown God wishes to raise a question about how we describe and perceive “God”.