March 25, 2022Print | PDF
Poulenc Gloria Translations
I. Gloria in excelsis Deo
Et in terra pax hominibus bonæ voluntatis.
Glory to God in the highest
And on earth peace, goodwill to all people.
II. Laudamus te, Benedicimus te, Adoramus te, Glorificamus te.
Gratias agimus tibi Propter magnam gloriam tuam.
We praise you, We bless you, We worship you, We glorify you.
We give thanks to you for your great glory
III. Domine Deus, Rex cælestis, Deus Pater omnipotens.
Lord God, heavenly King, Almighty Father.
IV. Domine Fili unigenite, Jesu Christe.
Lord, the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
V. Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris, Rex Celestis
Deus Qui tollis peccata mundi, Miserere nobis; suscipe deprecationem nostram.
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, King in Heaven
Who takes away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us. Receive our prayers.
VI. Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis.
Quoniam tu solus Sanctus, Tu solus Dominus, Tu solus Altissimus.
Jesu Christe, Cum Sancto Spiritu in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.
You who sit at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.
Only you are holy, only you are Lord. Only you are most high.
Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
French composer Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc, was born in Paris in 1889 and gained notoriety throughout Europe for his musical talent as well as his personal activities. Taught at a young age by his mother then later mentored by Satie and Ricardo Vines, Poulenc became an accomplished pianist, touring around Europe and North America performing on his own as well as alongside notable singers such as Pierre Pernac, Rose Dercour, and Denise Duval. Poulenc made his compositional debut in 1917 with “Rapsodie nègre” then formed a musical group with other young composers known collectively as “Les Six”. Following the tragic death of his friend Pierre-Octave Ferroud, Poulenc converted to Catholicism and began a new stage of seriousness devoted to religion with his compositions. His musical style is fascinating in that it reacts against the popular classical styles of Wagner, Debussy, and Ravel and instead chooses to juxtapose serious and playful music. Written by: John Mansilla
Poulenc’s “Gloria”, written for soprano, chorus, and orchestra, was first premiered in January 1961. It was commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation and was supposedly inspired by a rugby match. Scandalous for the time, the music spans from dark to whimsical. There are a total of six movements, all individually breathtaking with rich and flowing harmonies. Beginning at the declaratory entrance of the chorus in the first movement, listeners may find themselves on the edge of their seats constantly wondering what Poulenc may do next. The third movement features a dramatic yet beautiful solo soprano line with background support from the chorus and orchestra acting as one. The second and fourth movements are similar, as they are both shorter with far more energy, ultimately leading the listeners from tonally separated music (i.e. the 1st, 3rd, and 5th movements). The fifth movement sees the return of the soprano soloist with a dark and mysterious tone. Finally, the last movement begins with a loud exclamation from the lower voices. The movement feels almost like a “mashup” of the five before it, featuring both motivic and tonal content from all of them. Poulenc finally fades out the work with a sombre echoing “Amen” sure to leave the listeners hanging on to the very last moments of music. Written by: Oban Neufeld
The first movement, entitled Gloria in excelsis Deo, is in G major. It features moving fast-paced string passages, as well as bright horn accompaniments. The vocals employ a dotted theme that re-appears in each voicing. The second movement, Laudamus Te, features a whirlwind of staccato and unpredictability. The voices pair up to create a back and forth that is both bouncy and playful. The third movement, Domine Deus, features a soprano soloist singing an overarching minor melody. You can listen for the dissonances passed around the choral voices, which create an odd, but pleasing accompaniment. The fourth movement, Domini Fili unigenite, is brusque and fiery, as the voices build upon each other to a loud climactic ending. The fifth movement, Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, features the return of the soprano soloist, working with the chorus to create a flowing interjoined melody. This all comes together for the final movement, Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, which features both fast and slow passages, builds up to a 4-part fiery ending and then ends on a whispered “Amen”. Listen closely for the tempo changes throughout the song that create textured harmonies. Written by: Hannah Nicoletta
Poulenc keeps the listeners engaged by incorporating many different elements, including regular changes of time signatures, a cappella sections, tempo changes, and modulations. For example, throughout the piece, there are many non-chord notes, which are unexpected and clash against the rest of the notes, however, they always resolve nicely. Another example is that movement two ends très allant (very upbeat) to très lent et calme (very slow and calm). When listening tot his piece, try to listen for the different moods represented throughout the movements. Written by: Katie Blair
Personally, I greatly enjoy Poulenc's use of different emotional styles throughout the piece, as it keeps the listener engaged throughout its entirety. Going from extremely dramatic to lighthearted may sound jarring, yet Poulenc encapsulates these feelings so perfectly throughout the music that it never feels strange to have a sudden shift of tone, which is another reason why I enjoy this composition so much. Written by: Gianluca Chiusano
Poulenc’s Gloria contains drama, and whimsy, and truly offers something for each listener. The repeated motives used throughout the work give the audience the sense of a circular return to where we began, and it is truly exciting to hear how Poulenc treats each of these movement’s themes and their return. Written by: Cameron DeBeau
There are six movements in all, and my personal favourite is the Laudamus Te. It is an upbeat number that was inspired by a game of soccer between Benedictine monks that Poulenc had witnessed. This playfulness is reflected in the number, there is a certain buoyancy to the rhythms and a general sense of revelry throughout the movement. When singing this piece, I try to imagine the unexpected playfulness of these Benedictine monks, and just what a sight that must have been to see. Written by: Marigold Vousden
After having worked on this piece for two years, I have grown to love it. The unique harmony, intricate rhythms, and brilliant use of form were intimidating to me as someone new to choir. Though, as time passed, and I heard it more times, I found myself truly loving the complex nature and huge contrasting emotions within it. My favourite movement would be finale, as I love the harmony towards the end - it reminds me of impressionist works. Although learning the parts on my own was rather difficult, putting it together as a full choir made it all worth it. Written by: Jamie Dibble
The highlight of this piece for me is honestly Laudamus Te! I love the tempo and phrasing of the lyrics. It is such a fun piece that constantly gets stuck in my head. Whilst learning this piece, I realized just how difficult Latin is, and that the words usually aren’t pronounced how they look. At first, I wasn’t too fond of learning a piece this long, however, I’ve come to really enjoy singing it, and the rehearsals that come with it. Written by: Zoe Harris
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