As a church musician and composer of many sacred works, so much of my life as a performer and as a composer is rooted in sacred Latin texts. In this my first setting of Ubi caritas, I wished to approach the traditional Latin text in a non-traditional manner, pairing it with English verses from 1 Corinthians 13. Through the unity of these two texts, the meaning of the Latin text is brought forth—it is from God and through God that love exists. In this piece I’ve set the text for two groups of singers. The larger choir, representing the people, sings the English verses. The Ubi caritas text, set in a freer chant-like style, is sung by a smaller ensemble representing angelic intercessors. The smaller ensemble may be substituted with two female soloists.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I am become as sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. 2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3And though I give away all my possessions, and though I give my body to be burned, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Congregavit nos in unum, Christi amor.
Exsultemus, et in ipso jucundemur.
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.
Where charity and love are, God is there.
Christ's love has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice and be pleased in Him.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
And may we love each other with a sincere heart.