This is a challenging work for unaccompanied mixed chorus and alto solo. The biblical text refers to the last hours of Christ on the cross, when “darkness covered the earth.” The work employs a relatively consonant yet contemporary harmonic language and requires controlled, dramatic and well-tuned ensemble singing.
Tenebrae factae sunt,
dum crucifixissent Jesum Judaei:
et circa horam nonam exclamavit Jesus voce magna:
Deus meus, ut quid me dereliquisti?
Et inclinato capite, emisit spiritum.
Exclamans Jesus voce magna, ait:
Pater, in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum.
Shadows covered the earth,
when the Jews crucified Jesus,
and toward the ninth hour Jesus let forth a great cry,
“My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”
And lowering his head, he gave up the spirit.
Jesus, crying out in a great voice, said:
“Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”
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