Verbum caro factum est
A carol for men's chorus a cappella
Jeremy Jones, conductor
Robert Simpson, conductor
(Live performance - Dec 2016)
Commissioned by and dedicated to Jeremy D. Jones and the Men’s Glee Club of Miami University, with fond dedication also to Jakob Patriksson and the men of Ars Veritas, Göteborg, Sweden.
The genesis and commissioning of Verbum caro factum est is a result of the joining of many serendipitous threads.
In 2014, I was selected by the American Choral Directors Association to be a participant in the International Conductor Exchange Program with Sweden. Through this wonderful program, I was paired with a young Swedish conductor and organist, Jakob Patriksson. I was one of several hosts that Jakob enjoyed during his visit to the U.S.A. In addition to time spent at Indiana University, Jakob also visited and worked with conductors Amy Blosser and Jeremy Jones in the neighboring state of Ohio. Jeremy, Jakob and I spent a rather treacherous afternoon together in the middle of a March blizzard and had a delightful conversation about our future plans over Japanese food.
As Jakob and Jeremy are both conductors of male choruses, they wished to plan an exchange between their groups: Ars Veritas and the Miami University Men’s Glee Club, respectively. So it was that Jeremy secured funding to bring a select ensemble of his Glee Club to Göteborg and sing a joint concert with Ars Veritas. Jeremy and Jakob wished to mark the occasion with a new commissioned work, and thus the score before you has come into being.
I was asked to set a text and tune of my choosing from the Piae Cantiones, a 16th century collection of late Medieval Latin songs, used at the time for teaching music in Finnish cathedral schools. From the songbook, I’ve chosen to set “Verbum caro factum est,” a joyous hymn of praise appropriate for the celebration of Christmas. While many holiday carols focus the attention on the Christ child, this hymn ruminates on the mother Mary.
The music is buoyant, expectant, and jubilant, moving in and out of modal and tonal areas with agile fancy. The music comes to a satisfying conclusion, accelerating and rising to ever-higher and more glorious pitches. While appropriate of course for the holiday season, this work fits wonderfully on any program or within the context of any service.
The work is fondly dedicated to Jeremy, Jakob, and their able singers.