Nunc Dimittis (2022)

Performed by the UofL Collegiate Chorale under the direction of Dr. Kent Hatteberg.

Program Notes: Some of the most successful and important choral works of the 21st century are settings of sacred texts. Setting sacred texts to music is a tradition that goes back centuries, ranging from Gregorian chants to post-tonal music of today. After careful consideration, I decided to take this tradition one step further and incorporate the use of live electronics in a sacred text setting. To my knowledge, this has never been done before, likely due to the perceived dichotomy between electronic music and sacred music. However, the magic of sacred text settings today is their timelessness, and using an ancient text with electronic effects only achievable in recent decades embraces this anachronism and breathes new life into the art form. The text itself, “Nunc Dimittis” is a text dating back to the 4th century taken from the Gospel of Luke. In the text, Simeon, holding a then-infant Jesus in his arms, expresses his desires that he may depart from his Earthly life in peace and enjoy the full light and salvation of a heavenly deliverance. This personal reckoning with mortality and spirituality lends itself well to the use of electronics that can at times sound otherwordly. I firmly believe that there is much more potential for the choral art form in collaboration with live electronics, and it is my hope that more and more composers begin to explore this medium in the years to come.

Benjamin Carter