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Lux Aurumque

After deciding upon the poem by Edward Esch (I was immediately struck by its genuine, elegant simplicity), I had it translated into the Latin by the celebrated American poet Charles Anthony Silvestri. A simple approach was essential to the success of the work, and I waited patiently for the tight harmonies to shimmer and glow.

Lux Aurumque was commissioned by the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, and is dedicated with love to my great friend Dr. Jo Michael Scheibe.

The TTBB arrangement of Lux Aurumque was commissioned by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. It is dedicated to its conductor, Dr. Bruce Mayhall.

The Wind Symphony transcription was commissioned by the Texas All State band. It is dedicated to Maestro Gary Green.

The String Orchestra transcription was commissioned by the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. I conducted the premiere.

Lux Aurumque (Light and Gold)

Lux,
Calida gravisque pura velut aurum
Et canunt angeli molliter
modo natum.

Light,
warm and heavy as pure gold
and angels sing softly
to the new-born babe.

Edward Esch
(Translated to Latin by Charles Anthony Silvestri)

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  • Tyler Kincaid

    If i want to think of color Mr. Whitacre, i definitely think of you!! Your works are so inspiring, and have such unique sounds, its overwhelming. Congrats on your new site and i look forward to many more works to come!!

  • Elliott von Wendt

    Do you, perchance, happen to have the recording of Lux for strings?

  • James Perry

    The wind recording of Lux you posted is the one that I've had for a long time, and it's one of the VERY few that I feel really has a great blend and intonation. I've played Lux several times before in my wind ensemble, and it's an extremely tough, but absolutely gorgeous piece to perform. I've been wondering for a while who this recording is by, but I've had no luck, could you help me out? (:

    • Nicolle Sartain

      I just happened to be feeling very nostalgic today and so I happened by Whitacre's site to listen to Lux Aurumque (it is great when you want to be introspective, isn't it?). To answer your question, that recording of the wind version is from the 2005 5A Texas All-State Symphonic band (assuming that was the recording posted back in April – this is now September!). I was very lucky to have been a part of the premier for the wind version (i play flute) and have found nothing that comes close to the provocative nature of this piece. Having the composer there and to be able to shake his hand and have him talk about his piece.. was beyond amazing! Anyways, if you are still looking for that exact recording try this link: http://www.tmea.org/programs/all-state/recordings. That is to the Texas Music Educators Website. Enjoy!

    • FRANK REED

      I too have heard the instrumental version and really liked it, but tonight for some reason at about the 2:00 mark I just really got lost in the music and fell in love with this piece almost above the choral version (which is my usual fave). I don't know if you even read these Mr Whitacre, but thank you…. for your work and absolutely beautiful music… thank you.

  • http://www.nps.gov/hfc Ed Boutté

    I own a couple of commercial recordings of this piece. They are exquisite and perfectly executed. However the recording of this (HUGE) band here reveals some real love of the players for this piece. Absolutely devine. I heard a piece from Complete Acapella Works on NPR years ago. I purchased it and have continued to search out recordings of your work. Thank you for all your music.

    Ed

  • Guillermo Delgado

    when i hear this song feel like im underwater :)

  • Francis Windram

    A song which just stops me for four minutes of my life whenever I hear it.

    Originally heard this performed by Polyphony, and am very much looking forwards to a possible performance in the summer. Amazing music!

  • Teresa Neff

    How can I find the biography of poet Edward Esch? I can't seem to find any information on this individual. Your help and time would be greatly appreciated.

    All your work is breathtaking, I'm truly moved.

  • Ray Velasquez

    The wind recording is definitely my favorite. The sound is so full at the climax, and the intonation is nearly perfect, which is so difficult to do with all the sustained notes.

    If I'm not mistaken, this is the premiere of the wind version, by the 2005 Texas 5A All-State Symphonic Band.

  • Eric Kreseery

    You are by far the Best Artist i Know of When our Choir did your song i fell in love with Your music. The wIND RECORDING IS AMAZINg! Great job And i wish u luck in life.

  • Paulijn

    We are thinking of performing Lux Aurumque with our wind orchestra and a choir. It's so beautiful!

    Does anyone know where we can obtain the sheet music for wind symphony?

    Thanks!

    Paulijn

  • DBrew

    Sweet Lord in Heaven, I have been singing this piece almost everyday for years, and I still cannot get enough. The Wind Symphony truly does it justice. Thank You!! You've brought a fresh sound to one of my favorite of favorites

  • Oscar

    This is the first of your works that I performed, in my school chamber choir last christmas. I di the soprano solo and it was magical.

  • John Wm. Houghton

    I haven't seen mention of this anyplace, but perhaps I've just missed it. This is, I think, Silvestri's translation:

    Lux,

    calida gravisque pura velut aurum

    et canunt angeli molliter

    modo natum.

    But the second line doesn't, so far as I can tell, translate the English original. "calida gravisque pura velut aurum" means "warm and heavy, pure like gold"-not because of the word order, but because "pura" is feminine, agreeing with "lux," rather than neuter, agreeing with "aurum." "Warm and heavy as pure gold" would be "calida gravisque purum velut aurum."

    Perhaps my copy of the translation is incorrect, and Silvestri actually wrote "purum"?

  • Cheyenne Randolph

    My band director was listening to this piece when I walked into his office and stopped dead. My breath completely left my lungs and nothing else mattered but this music… We are playing it in our high school band this year… I only hope we can do it justice… The climax of the song is spectacular. about four measures into the climax, the Baritone Saxophone and 2nd or 3rd French Horn has the most beautiful harmony! If only I weren't a flute player…. But no… I just love being able to be a part of making such pure music come to life….

  • Nicole Kay

    I recognized the name of Dr. Scheibe, as I grew up in Flagstaff, AZ, home of Northern Arizona University where Dr. Scheibe conducted for several years. I sang under Dr. Edith Copley and learned of your music under her direction.

  • Krista Baer

    HI :) I was just wondering if you have any free online practice tracks or something along those lines for Leonardo? I have the sheet music, but I'm really bad at playing piano :/ thanks!

  • Brewer

    Some Damn good singing boys. Bravo!

  • Ariadne Baur

    We played this in our marching show this year! It was simplified, but the same song :D I had so much fun performing it! We also played Equus. Marching at 180 BPM is not a simple feat my friends! In my concert band we are playing October, and next years marching show is going to have Ghost Train in it. Let's just say my directors love playing anything by Eric Whitacre!

  • Amy

    I'm doing this song as an Alto I for my high school's Chamber Choir…I'd heard of you, this piece, and the Virtual Choir several months ago and when my choir director announced that we'd be doing it, I was beside myself with joy. We've already finished working our way through it, and will be performing it at Richardson Auditorium in several months. I can't wait to hear how it sounds. We'll also be doing Sleep for a choral festival coming up in a few months. Kudos to you, Mr. Whitacre. What an amazing piece.

  • Claudine Garcia

    This song just marveled me. Gentle and inspiring. A few weeks back, my band teacher introduced this piece to us, and everyone immediatlely fell in love with it. I play Alto Sax 1 in the piece, and I especially enjoy the subtle tones of every instrument combined. We've already finished working through the piece, and my band teacher decided to let us play this at one of our concerts. Being a Middle School concert band, we've gotten alot of great feedback, including yourself, Mr. Whitacre. One of my friends posted a link of the video to your twitter page, and you loved it… My band teacher was speechless, as were we. Thank you so much, Lux Aurumque is an astonishing piece.

  • Farzad Sunavala

    EVERY SINGLE DAY I LISTEN TO THIS SONG!! I am from Texas and i love this wind ensemble piece so much!! YOU ROCK ERIC WHITACRE!

  • http://mychoir.shutterfly.com Viki Kamenov

    Dear Mr.Whitacre,

    Thank you so much for this piece of work!It makes me fly to the desired Uknown!

    I'd like to ask you if there is a SSA version of this Beauty!

    And if so where it can be found!

    I wish you to keep your passion live and many many more works to your listeners 's joy!

    Greetings from Bulgaria!

  • Connor Chambers

    This song is amazing, it's my schools anthem and we have won awards for singing it. It's bloomin amazing!

  • James Krudop

    Wow. This song is just beautiful. Our choir, "Vox Harmonia" just performed this piece at Carnegie Hall. I must say, with this song's simply shimmering chords, and Carnegie's acoustic quality, the song just glowed. Especially that soprano solo. A great friend of mine did the solo, and just about every time I listen to the recording of the song, I cannot help but get teary-eyed. Thank you, Mr. Whitacre, for bringing this beautiful gift to the world.

  • sean Kaesler

    this song is so amazing! my choir group went to italy last week to sing at st marks and st peters, and we sang lux. ur music really touches my heart. im going to be a composer when im older, which is my long life dream, but after the italian experience, i also want to be a conductor or a choir teacher. thank you, you changed my life.

    • sean Kaesler

      we are la canada high school italian choir :)

  • Samuel Kubina

    Eric,

    I enjoy listening to all three arrangements of lux arumque, but i have always wondered…. why is there a different climax in the band version as opposed to the two choral versions?

    p.s. I also noticed that you use the band climax in Bliss from Paradise Lost. o.O

  • mary jarrett

    Eric,

    I first learned about you when your first virtual choir video went viral. Since then, I've been listening to your music constantly and reading your blog from beginning to end. You've had an amazing journey and are so blessed with your talent. Thank you for creating such beautiful music.

  • Madison Hurst

    Mr. Whitacre,

    I am a student enrolled at Maple Mountain highschool and I would just like to take a moment to thank you for sharing your amazing talents! My concert choir sang Lux Aurumque for our Christmas concert this past year. Through singing this song I have been inspired to write music. You have an incredible ability to bring dissonant harmonies to life! Your songs are what I truly love to sing. Your music is at the cutting edge of the choral world. Thanks again!

  • John Smith

    This is an amazing piece, but the recording has way to many people coughing in it as if the room released toxic gases in the air… >_>

  • Vicky McCargar

    I'm old (58) and have been singing in choirs since I was seven. I thought choral music was going the way of books (addio!) until I caught the TED video. That so many of Maestro Whitacre's fans seem to be my kids' ages and younger gives me hope for music and the human spirit.

    Anybody who translates a work INTO Latin to set it to music is okay in my book (or iPad).

  • http://haroldparis.fr Harold Paris

    Just found your video on TED. Wanted to say I was really moved by your story and by your work. Wow ! I'm not really into classical music, but this piece : Lux Aurumque is real art !

    Glad I just heard from you and glad I discovered your music.

  • Connor Chambers

    I realised that the climax of the wind symphony of Lux is the same as the climax in nox aurumque

  • Elise Ontiveros

    Oh my gosh!!!! I played this my freshman year in high school just three years ago!!!! Im graduating this year and this brings back wonderful memories of my director conducting us. It wasn’t as good as these performances but I enjoyed every moment, and cherish those rehersals with my director. Last year actually we played sleep, and I was in tears, it was like a tribute to my director and there couldn’t have been a better peice to play for him. Mr. Whitacre thank you for your wonderful music that has filled many hearts as well as mine with pure love. Your work is truly …. wonderful. thank you so much :)

  • Chris

    This isnt the full piece. The full piece is eight pages long.

  • Jon Shrum

    The angels in Heaven sing this every Christmas. I know it. So haunting. So mysterious. So absolutely and incredibly beautiful. God bless you Eric. Please never stop writing music =)

  • Nicola

    How can I buy the score of LUX AURUMQUE in TTBB version?

  • Samie Anderson

    2 minutes in. Goosebumps everywhere. I miss high school band!

  • Christopher

    OMG!! i love this piece… i love it so much i listen to it everyday… even in school… you are the best…

  • James Gladney

    Over the time I have listened to all of your music starting my 8th grade year in 2008 to the current year of 2012, I have feel like every time I listen to this song performed by a different ensemble or choir, that it tells a different story and I always get a burst of emotion in every song. I can not thank you enough for inspiring me as an individual to carry out my dream to compose and conduct such emotional music that effects the mind of a human emotionally and mentally.

  • Zac

    What can I say ?. I’ve recently had a really bad time, losing someone very important to me and your music really helped me. The harmonic progressions and sheer beauty of your compositions is totally mindblowing. At a very emotional time I’d like to thank you for composing such awesome music. Being a former Cathedral Chorister I have performed Lux Aurumque many times, but I heard the piece for the first time again today, since leaving the choir. It literally blew me away. Thank you Sir and please continue writing. And keep the cool hairstyle. :)
    Zac.

  • Matt Bardin

    The all state band I was in played the concert band arrangement of this piece, and it has since become my favorite song to listen to. This music just seems to mesh with my soul in a way nothing else ever does. My favorite thing about the piece though, is that I was able to get my part autographed my Mr. Whitacre. :)

  • Steve

    Both of my daughters were in the all-state band that premiered Lux Arumque, so I must cry every time I hear it. The three-note horn solo is my oldest, and those are the best three notes I ever experienced in a long life dedicated to music and music education. Lux will be played when my ashes are spread over the ocean. Thank you Eric Whitacre for creating such moving music.

  • Hannah Froncek

    This song…. The way that the harmony and dissonance play against each other, and yet also together is absolutely beautiful. It rings like a chime; a deep, beautiful chime.
    The concert choir is singing this song this year, but unfortunately, being one of the lowly freshmen, I don’t get to be in concert choir until I’m a junior!
    Thank you so much for being a composer!

  • Bea

    Could I know what was the reason, the purpose to write this song? It is an amazing piece of work, that’s why I chose it to my final exam, to conduct and I have to know everything about this song. It would be very helpful if somebody could answer me. Thank you!

  • sobrone

    Seeing what is done by both the poet and the musician with so few words and such inspiring music I wish Eric would compose a piece based on the “Serenity Prayer” which is used by recovery groups. As an AA member it is such a special short prayer. In keeping with AAs precept that you only need choose a God of your own understanding. There are also a couple longer versions that would be about 4 verses or stanzas, but I know anything Eric put pen or pencil to would be thrilling and appropriate. Since looking back at Lux Aurumque and a couple other songs it is kind of a pipe dream of mine. I also agree with Steve that this song would be beautiful to be sent off with.

  • Nicole

    I tried playing both videos together… And now I can’t stop!

  • Angela

    I had the privilege of playing in the Kentucky Intercollegiate band two years ago, when Gary Green was our conductor. This music, and his energy combined, moved me so much emotionally that for the first time ever, I was crying as I was playing. Thank you so much for arranging this piece for band!

  • Jay Nelsestuen

    Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that you, Eric, ARE the infamous Edward Esch? I’ve managed to piece together some clues:
    1. You’re son’s name is Esh (it’s in the booklet for Light and Gold; either you named him after the poet, or named him after a pseudonym that you created)
    2. If you try to Google Edward Esch, anything that ever comes up is somehow related to you
    3. He seems to have written poetry that you exclusively have used (Glow, Lux Aurumque, the “book” for Paradise Lost)
    4. Neither Tony Silvestri or David Norona are nearly as clever as you could have been to start this back in 2000
    5. Anything else that I’m missing?
    Oddly enough, no one else seems to care. I do. Please tell me if I’m right. If not, point me to a book of his poetry or a website dedicated to him. :)

    All in good fun, Jay

    • Axel Paridon

      Also, Edward Esch was born in 1970, like Eric.

      • Jay Nelsestuen

        Exactly. Someone gets it. Eric, please reply. If you don’t, I’ll send an email in the direction of your manager. Hopefully I’ll get something out of that.

        Jay

About Eric

Eric Whitacre is one of the most popular and performed composers of our time, a distinguished conductor, broadcaster and public speaker. His first album as both composer and conductor on Decca/Universal, Light & Gold, won a Grammy® in 2012, reaped unanimous five star reviews and became the no. 1 classical album in the US and UK charts within a week of release... view full bio