Paradiso Prayer

Text: Dante Alighieri (adapted)

For SATB Choir with some doubling; Soprano, Mezzo-soprano and Baritone soloists, Violin and Bass Clarinet (or Cello).  Commissioned by Big Mouth Society (Dir. Emily Lau). Level: Advanced Intermediate.  Duration:  6:00

The text for Paradiso Prayer is borrowed from Dante’s Prayer to Mother Mary from Canto 33 of Paradiso in his Divine Comedy. Five verses in this elegant prayer describe aspects of the Divine Feminine that are attributed to Mary.  These eloquent verses gradually point to two qualities that seem to be most needed during our current time:  peace and hope.  I was working on the composition in early 2022 when Russia declared war on Ukraine.  At that point, I decided to adapt the excerpted passage in order to reinforce its timely message.  Begging Dante’s indulgence, I took the liberty of inserting phrases borrowed from two familiar Latin prayers to Mary–the Ave Maria and the Angelus—between the lines of the fifth verse of Canto 33.  The newly adapted lyrics end with these words, translated here:

“Virgin Mother of the eternal peace, Holy Mary, pray for us: grant us peace. Thou art a living spring of hope.”

Big Mouth Society, with soloists Henriet Fourie Thompson, Emily Lau and Shohei Kobayashi. Recorded Fall 2022 in Portland and Eugene, OR.

Text & Translation


Paradiso Prayer : Score

Minimum 12. No photocopying please.


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