Morten Lauridsen’s Lux aeterna is a requiem, but unlike the better-known requiems by the likes of Verdi and Mozart, Lauridsen’s work is a tranquil, light-filled piece.
After its premiere, a writer for The Times called it “a classic of new American choral writing” and said “old world structures and new world spirit intertwine in a cunningly written score, at once sensuous and spare”.
The best known section of the work is the haunting a cappella ‘O nata lux’. The Latin text translates as “O light born of light, / Jesus, redeemer of the world, /deign in mercy to accept / the offering of praise and prayers.” The mood is one of opulence and Lauridsen luxuriates in the power of the choral sound.
Lauridsen is one of America’s best loved modern composers. He is perhaps best known for his work O magnum mysterium – also for a cappella voices.