SATB chorus, soprano and baritone soloists, organ, brass ensemble.
Commissioned by the Cathedral Chorale Society of the Washington National Cathedral
Performed by The Cathedral Choral Society at The Washington National Cathedral, Washington, DC. December 11, 2004. J. Reilly Lewis, Conductor
Libby Larsen Publishing
During a most commonplace domestic scene, into its nocturnal serenity, the angels revealed themselves to the shepherds, announcing the birth of the Christ child. What sudden, blinding brilliance engulfed them—this divine jubilation, this splendid revelation! To grasp even an inkling of this moment, much less embrace and comprehend its glory must have taken their entire being. They were terrified, scriptures tell us, terrified until the angels caught them up in their supreme, divine exaltation, delivering God’s message of peace on earth to those He favors, to those of good will, to those who upon whom His favor rests.
The text for The Shepherds and the Angels draws upon five versions of Luke 2:8:20, combining them with Latin, Greek, and Aramaic translations. My hope and intent is to create an impression of that event in its splendor and terrifying utterance of the glory of the birth of Christ our Lord.