Page 1

Simon Cummings

The Song of Simeon (Nunc dimittis) for SATB choir & organ


Of the great many settings of Simeon’s song, usually heard as one of the traditional canticles of the service of Evensong, the majority are for the most part quiet and restrained. The text obviously reinforces this idea, being words of resignation, the realisation that God is finally allowing the prophet to “depart in peace”. But i have always felt that there would have been no peace, no quietness, no restraint at that moment when Simeon first sees the child and realises who he is, with all the implications that arise out of that. To my mind, this would be an overwhelming experience, a vision beyond all other, the revelation of something profound and marvellous: the Nunc dimittis, after all, is not first and foremost a song about Simeon, but Jesus. To this end, my setting begins with vast, dense chords from the organ, complex and resonant. This is, if you like, that moment of realisation drawn out to become the introduction of the work; the music is transfixed, rooted, amazed, a kaleidoscope of emotions. Everything that follows—the actual setting of the words—is therefore heard in the light of this opening, just as Simeon’s words are in the light of his realisation. The choir’s music is deliberately markedly different from the organ’s opening gestures: soft and intense, resigned but joyful, and musically relatively simple. Nonetheless, the choir’s quiet reflections increasingly draw on the more complex harmonies of the organ’s initial chords. Despite the close association with evening worship, my setting was composed as an anthem for the Eucharist, with the feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple specifically in mind; to that end, the traditional doxology was not originally included. However, it has been added for occasions when a traditional liturgical conclusion is more appropriate. It is deliberately played down, chanted to a single tone during the organ’s final bars; the choir may omit these words if desired. duration: c. 6 minutes


for the Choir of Christ Church, Cheltenham

The Song of Simeon (Nunc dimittis) Simon Cummings

Luke 2:29—32

Great: III Rks. Mixture 22.26.29, Fifteenth 2, Twelfth 2 2/3, Geigen Octave 4, Principal 8, Rohr Quintaten 16. Swell to Great. Choir to Great. Swell: III Rks. Scharf 26.29.33, Flachflute 1, Fifteenth 2, Clarion 4, Trumpet 8, Double Trumpet 16. Octave. Choir: II Rks. Quartane 19.22, II Rks. Sesquialtera 12.17, Flageolet 2. Pedal: Quintadena 4, Octave 8, Clarion 8, Trombone 16, Violone 16, Principal 16, Sub Bourdon 32. Great to Pedal.

Awesome: transfixed & radiant molto  tenuto sempre             ORGAN.

 

 

PED.

ffff

     





   

 

  

 





 



 

 

  

ffff

 

       

      

     

     

 

 

 













ORG.

   

  

  

dim. poco a poco a poco: gradually shut swell box

ORG.

  

 

 

 



 

    

       



     

© 2012 Simon Cummings

 


2

Great: Spillflute 4. Swell to Great. Swell: Wald Flute 4, Lieblich Gedeckt 8. Pedal: Octave 8, Bourdon Quint 10 2/3, Quintaten 16, Dulciana 16, Violone 16, Principal 16, Sub Bourdon 32. Great to Pedal.

  

   

ORG.

 

   

ff swell box shut

  



 

mp

  

 

(swell box ½ open)

 

 

 

 

immediately cut: Octave 8, Quintaten 16, Dulciana 16, Violone 16, Bourdon 16.

  

pp

 q = max. 70 quietly emotional

       

mp

1

S. A.



       mp

Lord,

T. B.



    



let - test Thou

Thy



now

 



poco



 

 

   

ser

poco

  

 -

   p



vant

de -

 

 p

 

ORGAN — prepare: Swell: III Rks. Scharf 26.29.33, Flachflute 1, Fifteenth 2, Nazard 2 2/3, Principal 4, Clarion 4, Trumpet 8. Octave. Pedal: Octave 8. (No couplers)

      

 

    

part

in

peace

5

S. A.

T. B.

     



   

           pp

ac - cord - ing to Thy

word.

           

 

  

  

  

pp PED.

 

 

 

  

  p

 


3 with excited wonder

     9

S.

    

T.

 



 

 



   

seen

Thy

 





 



seen

Thy

 





Sw.

 

+ Bourdon 16,

 

  

-

B.







 





-

    

 





(no couplers!)   



-

-

  

mf

va mf

-

-



  







mf



 

 



 

tion

   ORG.



va mf

 



sal -

 



sal -

   

p swell box shut

13

  

T.



Dulciana 16, Principal 16.

  

A.

have

   





have

For mine eyes p sotto voce

 

S.

 

p sotto voce



    

ORG.

mf

For mine eyes p sotto voce

  

A.

B.

p sotto voce

tion



    

  

  

mp dim. poco a poco: gradually shut swell box

   

 

  [ R.H.

       

 

     

 

p swell box shut

  


4 q = max. 80 poco più mosso

  

 

17

ORG.





p (as before)

     

 







  





 

 

    

 rit. S.

A.

a tempo

  

 

 

 

20

 mp



which

T.

B.

ORG.

     

mp



which

  

 rit.

         

 

Thou

 



    



mp



which

Thou

a tempo

    

 



 




5 mp

23

S.

   

which

 

A.





Thou

B.

  hast





-

be

 

pre - pared



fore

-

be - fore poco dim.

 

the



 

 

the poco dim.

  

pre - pared



be

  

pre - pared

     Thou hast

T.

poco dim.

hast pre - pared

hast

    



fore

the poco dim.

  



be - fore

 



the

ORGAN — prepare: Swell: Flachflute 1, Nazard 2 2/3, Open Diapason 8. Choir: Dulcet 4, Dulciana 8. Solo to Choir. Solo: Viol Celeste T.C. 8, Viol 8. Pedal: Dulciana 16, Bourdon 16, Sub Bourdon 32. Choir to Pedal.

 rit.

rall. p sub.

  mp   





face

of

all

peo

26

S.

   

 -

face mp

     face

T.

mp

B.

of

 of



all



all



peo



face

of

all

peo

 

-

p sub.

peo



 

-



     

ORG.

 

-

 

 

  

 

  

 

  -

p sub.

 

ple;

ple; p sub.

 -

ple;

mp

A.

  

ple;

 

  

 

Ch.

Sw.

   pp



pp

shining



p swell box 1/3 open



   


6 Great: Geigen Octave 4, Principal 8. Swell to Great. Swell: III Rks. Scharf 26.29.33, Flachflute 1, Fifteenth 2, Nazard 22/3 , Principal 4, Clarion 4, Trumpet 8. Octave. Pedal: Bourdon Quint 10 2/3, Quintaten 16, Violone 16. Swell to Pedal.

q = max. 80

be

a

light

 



   f        to light  f           



 

a tempo

    29

S. A.

mf

 To

T. B.

     

        mf

ORG.

mf   

 







 

 



en

the

 

 



   



 

 

 



  

mf



  

     

  

-



     31

S. A.

 

rit.

 

a tempo

Gen - tiles

T. B.

     

   ORG.

      

 

  

 

 rit.

  

 a tempo

   



   and mf 

   

   

   



to be

the

 

 

   

p swell box shut

     

       

mf 



     



              


7

S.

35 ff     

   ff      glo ff           glo

ff

A.

T.

B.

ORG.

 -

-

-

-

-

-

 

ff full swell



-

 -

-

ry

  





      



 

 



-

-



-

 

 

 

 

 

 

ry

 

  

 

 

q = max. 70

intimate

S.

of p

    37

of

    p

A.

of p

T.

B.

    of     

ORG.

   



  

Thy

Thy

 Thy

 Thy

peo

  peo

 peo

-

-

-

-

 -

-



  ple



ple

peo mp

-

peo

-



ple

-

-

ple



 pp    

Is

 -

pp







ple

Solo: Viol Celeste T.C. 8, Viol 8. Octave. Choir: Dulcet 4, Dulciana 8. Solo to Choir. Pedal: Dulciana 16, Bourdon 16. Choir to Pedal.

 

Is pp



-

Is pp

-

Is

-





ORGAN — prepare:

-

  pp


8 40

S.

   

 

ra - el.

A.

  

T.

B.

 

-

-







ra - el.

 



ra - el.



[ Glory be to the Father, ppp quasi niente

and to the Son:

and to the Holy Ghost;



ppp quasi niente



[ Glory be to the Father, ppp quasi niente

 

   

Ch.

ppp quasi niente

and to the Son:

and to the Holy Ghost;

distant but everywhere

ra - el.

-

ORG.

   

 

pp

 

 

   

   





 

+ Quintaten 16, Sub Bourdon 32.

 



S. A.

T. B.

ORG.

  



as it was in the beginning,



        

 

is now, and ever shall be:

world without end. Amen. ]

      

     

     

  

   

  

   



Feast of Timothy & Titus 2001, Cheltenham revised 3 May 2002, Cheltenham & 13 March 2007, Tewkesbury


www.simoncummings.com


The Song of Simeon (Nunc dimittis) (2001)  

The Song of Simeon - full score

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