Lux aeterna - Clear September Morning
for SATB a cappella choir


This motet is based on a poem that I wrote not long after the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. The poem was originally angry, despairing and questioning, but when I reviewed it as potential musical material more than a year later, I felt that it needed a more positive and hopeful resolution. I therefore rewrote it with this intention. Though much of the original tone still remains, it is now tempered somewhat by the image of that morning's beautiful sunlight. That light then seemed to tie in so naturally with the various religious images of light, especially that of "Lux aeterna", that I couldn't help but include the chant in my music. For this reason, the piece evolved into a motet that borrows, to some extent, certain medieval and renaissance concepts of motet writing. By approaching this subject matter in such a way, I hope that I can bring more to it than just my own reactions and make it a more worthy memorial to those who were lost. Also, I hope to show that the simple image of peaceful light can ultimately be much more meaningful than all of the interpretive arguments, prejudices, hatreds and opinions people are capable of manufacturing.

A recorded performance of Motet: Lux aeterna - Clear September Morning is available on Youtube.

(performance duration ca. 4 minutes)

LUX AETERNA luceat eis, Domine, cum sanctis tuis in aeternum, quia pius es.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Cum sanctis tuis in aeternum, quia pius es.


Clear September Morning

Torn by shearing echoes,
we saw the blue sky shattered
and we heard "believe in God."

Innocence, robbed by death,
was lost in hatred's ruin
and we heard "it is his will."

Some thought such a wrath revealed a love
for the world of all his chosen,
so they said "he smiles upon us."

Yet there in a warming sunrise
moves the golden light of love,
while blackness rising taints that morn
where they said his work was done.

Now can we seek salvation
in spite of man's own judgment
when he says "believe in God?"

Beyond those blackened echoes
the golden light remains
and we seek our peace in God.

(poem © 2003 Paul SanGregory)


Translation of Lux Aeterna:

MAY ETERNAL LIGHT shine upon them, O Lord, with your saints forever, for you are merciful.

Grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them, with your saints forever, for you are merciful.