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"Vidimus stellam" a 5 (We Have Seen [His] Star) – Motet for Mixed Chorus a cappella (2016)

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Here is probably my best choral work, my motet "Vidimus stellam" in 5 voices (SSATB).  I would describe the style as Late German Romantic Emulating Stile Antico, ca. 1875, for lack of a better term, and the work is dedicated to the memory of Liechtenstein-born German composer Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901), whose choral music is similar in style.    

This motet is for the occasion of the Feast of the Epiphany, traditionally celebrated on January 6, the 12th day after Christmas in Western Christianity, which among other things commemorates the coming of the Magi (wise men) from the Orient to pay homage to the infant Jesus.  The Latin text translates:

"We have seen His star in the East, and are come with gifts to adore the Lord."

I made extensive use of counterpoint in this piece, especially in the climactic middle section.  I hope you enjoy!  


Vidumus stellam - Motetum 5 voci – Communio, Epiphania Domini

- Composed: October 27 - November 11, 2016 at Austin; revised September 3 - 9, 2020.

- Premiere Performance: January 8, 2017, Epiphany of Our Lord (observed), by the Schola Cantorum of St. Mary’s Cathedral, Austin, Texas – Dr. Jeffrey Jones-Ragona, Director of Music.

- Style: Late German Romantic emulating Stile Antico, ca. 1875.

- Text: Communion, Proper Mass for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord (January 6)

- Language: Latin

- Duration: 03:30

- Electronic Rendering by Finale 26 music notation software’s "Human Playback" with NotePerformer 3 artificial intelligence assisted interpretation.


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Hey @J. Lee Graham,

This is beautiful! I like your I-iii chord progression throughout the piece. I also love you have both the old motet style and the newer imitative style in the piece. For the older practice like in b.5 when the head of the Soprano I voice is imitated by other voices, while for the latter practice like in b.25 the entirety of the passage is imitated.

I particularly like the ending. The suspension there is real beautiful and creates a climax there!

In b.36 you have allargando while there is a decresc. hairpin. For me allarg. means rit.+cresc. Maybe having smorz. will be better?

Thanks for sharing!


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Woah this is an awesome chorale. I listened to this like 5 or 6 times, mainly because I don't think you can capture everything in just one run due to the complexity of this writing. I'm a huge fan of counterpoint and the fugue, so this style really speaks to me. You clearly are able to compose in multiple styles and I find that so cool about you. The audiophile in me wants to make fun of your Soprano I high sounds, as they started to sound like synth sounds, esp at around 2:09. But you know what? Who cares, this piece so just so damn good, that doesn't even really matter 😅

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