Lauda Creatoris is an original score by Nottingham-based composer, director and soloist Richard Roddis. It is a large-scale piece for soprano and baritone soloists, SATB choir, children’s choir, and orchestra. The title translates as ‘in praise of the Creator’, and the piece sets to music the text of St Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Creatures, interwoven with excerpts of poetry by the Victorian Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.

The composer writes:

‘The Canticle calls upon all to praise the Creator with all his creatures for the great elements of Creation – Sun, Moon, Wind, Water, Fire, Mother Earth and Bodily Death. Meanwhile in the Hopkins texts the elements of nature reflect the grandeur of the Creator, assuming praise in response.

‘In Lauda Creatoris I have sought to combine three components in response to the texts: the joyful celebration of Praise; the gravity and grandeur of the elements themselves, and a rapturous, ecstatic quality which is the essence of the Hopkins texts.

‘St Francis’ Canticle is an important document historically; written in the 1220s, during his last years, it spawned a whole new musical genre in Italy, called Lauda – a song of praise in the vernacular (Umbrian, in this case). Moreover, the Lauda is an ancestor of the Oratorio – providing a direct historical link for choirs singing this repertoire.

‘During research, I discovered a musical reconstruction of the Canticle – the original music for this sung work being long since lost – based on a surviving 13th century melody. I have borrowed this melody and incorporated it – it is heard at the outset rising seemingly from the mists of time – and it reappears in XI (the final stanza of the Canticle). It is in the Lydian mode, with its characteristic sharpened 4th – which is an element I use to colour the harmonic language in much of the work.’

Lauda Creatoris was first performed on April 4th 2009 in Derby Cathedral, Derby, by soloists Lucy Crowe and James Rutherford, Voices Girls’ Choir, and the Derby Bach Choir and Orchestra. It was conducted by the composer.

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