Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor. Exsultemus, et in ipso jucundemur. Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
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From an early age he was exposed to a range of different genres of music, but he took a special liking to both jazz and classical choral music.
Gjeilo began playing piano, and gravitated towards jazz improvisation. Gjeilo mainly learned music by ear, but did learn how to read music from age 7. His keen ear enabled him to be experimental in his compositional style from a young age.
His use of improvisation, jazz and classical conventions amalgamate to create some truly stunning pieces of music. What does my teacher want me to do?
What are others expecting from me? Is my music modern enough? Is it too pretty? Is it too cerebral? We get caught up in these things and distracted from the core question — what is it that I really love?
It is so important in music. So, this is the principle I work with now. I started to write more music that reflected what I listen to. It made me happier. I felt a lot less creative doubt, and I just began to enjoy composing in a new way. The text that is at the centre of the work can be seen below: Latin Original with English Translation Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor. Exultemus, et in ipso iucundemur.
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum. Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero. The text, which is related to the Eucharist, is widely known as the antiphon for the first communion, and the washing of the feet from the Mass for Maundy Thursday.
The opening chant is then concluded by the soprano and alto lines coming together, solidifying the F minor key. The opening chant is then presented again, but this time with all SATB in unison.
The middle section begins following a neat modulation to A major. Gjeilo creates a more jubilant atmosphere here, which can be heard through luscious harmony, accelerating tempos, and ever-expressive dynamics.
A modulation to B major is heard at the end of this middle section, which comes when the choir are singing the final line of text. Similar to the opening section, the soprano voice carries the initial melodic line.
However, instead of the voices being in unison here, they are in full SATB harmony, which is absolutely glorious. Gjeilo cleverly changes meter twice before completing the work, to prolong the tension in the final cadence. Whilst the alto voice sustains an F tonic , the tenor and bass voices descend in step-wise motion, with the soprano voices ascending in the same manner.
In the last two bars, the bass and soprano land on the tonic and dominant of F minor. Differently, the alto and tenor provide the concluding delayed resolution, with them eventually landing on the third and dominant of the F minor chord.
Final Thoughts Ubi Caritas is full of clever choral writing, complex harmonic progressions, which all offer a creative and effective use of this traditional Latin text.
Ubi Caritas (TTBB)