Mysterium I  is the first movement of a larger work and has been composed for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra‘s 2023 Season Opening Gala, Zenith of Life. As the opening work for the evening, it has been composed with the intent to evoke a sense of occasion and celebration. 

Mary Finsterer

Mary Finsterer. Photo © Dean Golja

In the journey to find inspiration, I came across a vast canon of musical settings of O magnum mysterium. Commemorating the miracle of Christmas, this chance discovery seemed timely, given the timeframe in which I was composing. Believed to have originated as far back as the 10th century, this Latin chant has been set to music by numerous composers of note from the Renaissance, including Tomás Luis de Victoria, William Byrd, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Michael Praetorius, and more recently, Francis Poulenc.

What these works share is not simply limited to the title of O magnum mysterium (O great mystery). They each bring a purpose to their music – the evocation of reverence and wonder that augments the text’s innate devotional nature....