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Oculi Omnium

In November, 2010 Dr. David Skinner, conductor of the Chapel Choir at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University, asked me to compose a setting of the Oculi Omnium. The Oculi is the ‘Sidney Grace’, recited at high table and other campus ceremonies, and as I was serving a three month term as a Visiting Fellow at Sidney I was honored to accept the challenge. (I have since accepted a five year appointment as Composer-in-Residence).

Some listeners will notice that the ‘amen’ is a direct quote from the end of my i thank You God for most this amazing day. (The entire Oculi is based on those blossoming cluster chords). ‘Oculi Omnium’ means ‘The eyes of all’, and the final line of i thank You God is, ‘now the eyes of my eyes are opened.’ I thought the text and the sense of wonder and awe matched perfectly, thus the quote.

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Here’s a video of me conducting the Chapel Choir in the final run-through before the first performance.

  • Joyceline

    SO GREAT. Ahhhhhh c:

  • Alvin

    Strong material from “i thank You God for most this amazing day.” Love the biting dissonances in the first part of the video.

  • http://www.youtube.com/joshuajacobtaylor josh

    Eric! The new stuff was amazing, but why did you quote yourself again? o.O
    Long time fan,
    Josh

    • http://ericwhitacre.com Eric

      Josh, this time the quote was very specific. Because Oculi Omnium means “the eyes of all”, I quoted the bit from “i thank You God” that says, “now the eyes of my eyes are opened.”

  • stefano buschini

    Hello Eric! I shot this video with my iPhone. I’m Stefano Buschini, David’s italian friend and choir conductor and was at Sidney in november 2010 when you composed Oculi omnium and rehearsed it with Sidney choir. Great piece. I love your music. All best, Stefano

    • http://ericwhitacre.com Eric

      Hey, Stefano! Great to hear from you! Hoping to see you again soon, either at Sidney or (even better) in Italy.

  • http://www.ilconvittoarmonico.it Stefano Buschini

    You will be my guest if you come to Italy. Sang yesterday night Lux aurumque in a concert with my choir in Genova, Oratorio di San Filippo; singers placed all around the church! it was absolutely amazing and the audience was crazy! We had to sing it twice as an encore! Pls let me know if you’re about to come in Italy near me (La Spezia). Best wishes, Stefano

  • angel rueda

    mil gracias por tener esa sensibilidad para expresar con tan gran profundidad espiritual a traves de los sonidos.. de una manera muy peculiar, es un lenguaje que me atrae y me conduce a espacios tan especiales que solo con tu musica se logra esa coneccion de lo terrenal con lo supraterrenal.. no hablo ingles soy de mexico y me dedico a la musica , especificamente a recitales de guitarra.. estudie en la nacional de musica de la unam y me gustaria tener mas informacion y como poder adquirir tu material.. y si has escrito algo para guitarra .. me encantaria eso! una y mil felicitaciones y un gran saludo.. att. angel rueda

  • Andrew

    A thousands thanks for having the sensitivity to express with such great spiritual depth through your sound. In a very peculiar, this is a language that appeals to me and leads me to places so special that only with your music I could find. I do not speak English; I’m from mexico and devote myself to music, specifically guitar recitals by studying the national music of the UNAM, and I would like to have more information and how to get your material. If you’ve written something for guitar, I would love that! A thousand congratulations,
    -Att. Angel Rueda

    Just thought I’d give you a break and translate this man’s comment for you. I’m a huge fan, and wish someday I could use my talent to compose music as beautifully as you do, but no one can ever top what you’ve done. You’ve changed the way I look at music and life itself. Thank you so much,
    -Andrew

  • DesertDweller79

    Eric,

    Very nice piece. I love the quote from “i thank you God for most this amazing day” at the end. Very nice linking of text there. Of course, I am a bit biased as I was in the Northern Arizona University choir which first sang your “Three Songs of Faith”. So, of course I noticed that quote right away. I still completely love that ending to “i thank you God…” At first we were all hesitant about it when you changed it from that loud chord you originally had written, which sounded so joyful. But, you were right. This ending is much better. I love the feeling this quieter ending evokes. It fits perfectly with this piece and makes quite a lovely ending.

    Mindy

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