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O Oriens (2015)

for SATB choir | 00:04:00

by Melissa Dunphy

A setting of one of the O Antiphons. Commissioned by the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, conductor Matthew Glandorf.

From the composer: "When I was asked to set one of the O Antiphons, I knew the one I wanted to choose was "O Oriens" because of its universality. While my setting uses the traditional plainsong setting as its backbone, I hear the text as relevant far beyond its liturgical purpose; it becomes a plaintive call for light in the form of love, knowledge, and peace both in the world and within each of us personally, particularly for those of us who have suffered from depression or grief."

Melissa Dunphy's O Oriens (O Morning) offered no gimmicks - just a model of sincerity, beautiful harmonic changes, and a great sensitivity to pitches and phrases that fall naturally on the human voice. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Dunphy’s motet unfolds with a chant-like opening, creating an organic link between the modern and ancient, and expanding into lush diatonic clusters and triads. Shimmering seconds in the upper register frequently give way to strong harmonic pillars and a few change-of-mode surprises. [Douglas Buchanan]

O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Morning Star,
splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Artwork by NASA


  • 23 Dec, 2018: Saint John’s Cathedral Choir at Saint John’s Cathedral, Denver, CO
  • 21 Dec, 2018: Church of the Good Shepherd at Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont, PA
  • 21 Dec, 2018: The Bridge Ensemble at All Hallows Episcopal Church, Davidsonville, MD
  • 19 Dec, 2018: The Bridge Ensemble at Church of the Redeemer, Baltimore, MD
  • 16 Dec, 2018: Bryn Mawr Chamber Singers at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Bryn Mawr, PA
  • 08 Dec, 2018: Opus 7 at St. James Cathedral, Seattle, WA
  • 08 Dec, 2018: The Botetourt Chamber Singers at Williamsburg Presbyterian Church, Williamsburg, VA
  • 17 Nov, 2018: The Botetourt Chamber Singers at Bruton Parish Church, Williamsburg, VA
  • 21 Oct, 2018: Convivium at Christ Episcopal Church, Los Altos, CA
  • 19 Oct, 2018: The Botetourt Chamber Singers at Wren Chapel, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA
  • 16 Jun, 2018: Myriad at St. Mary's Church, Chiddingstone, UK
  • 20 Apr, 2018: McNeese State University Chamber Singers at First United Methodist Church, Lake Charles, LA
  • 10 Dec, 2017: The Singers at Nativity of Our Lord, St. Paul, MN
  • 03 Dec, 2017: The Singers at Wayzata Community Church, Wayzata, MN
  • 02 Dec, 2017: The Singers at St. Olaf Catholic Church, Minneapolis, MN
  • 04 Dec, 2016: Choir of University Lutheran Church at University Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, PA
  • 02 Dec, 2016: Voces Inauditae at Old St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 20 Nov, 2016: Richmond Concert Chorale at All Saints Episcopal Church Henrico, VA, US
  • 18 Nov, 2016: Richmond Concert Chorale at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Richmond, VA
  • 11 Nov, 2016: RPI Concert Choir at Chapel + Cultural Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
  • 10 Sep, 2016: Voces Inauditae at Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland
  • 01 Apr, 2016: The Bridge Ensemble at Harbor East, Baltimore, MD
  • 20 Dec, 2015: St. Peter's Choir at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, St. Louis, MO
  • 02 Dec, 2015: Choral Arts Society at St. Clement's Church, Philadelphia, PA


  • RED NOTE New Music Festival Composition Competition Honorable Mention 2017