O nobillissima, Thomas

SSA, a capella

“O nobilissima” is the final movement of Lux Lucis, a collection of three motets for women’s voices, on texts by Hildegard von Bingen. The three movements may be performed as a set, or individually. In addition to this version for women’s choir, there is a version for six solo voices.

Program Note

Lux Lucis is a collection of three motets for women’s voices, on texts by Hildegard von Bingen. The title translates as “light”, and especially refers to the light of life or the light of day – it can also translate as “hope” or “elucidation” in certain contexts. The texts by Hildegard for these three motets contain numerous references to light, the sun, flame, life and radiance. Musically, the motets make some references to Hildegard’s compositions – particularly in the use of the interval of the ascending fifth, which is found in many of Hildegard’s songs, and also in the extended chant which opens the third motet – however, there are no direct quotes of Hildegard’s melodies.

Lux Lucis is dedicated to Seattle Pro Musica, and is recorded on the CD Music of the Spirit, by Seattle Pro Musica – SPM 9805. Lux Lucis has won the 2009 New York Treble Singers Composition Contest, the 2007 Roger Wagner Contemporary Choral Composition Contest, and the 2005 Jezic Ensemble Composition Contest.

Notes on preparation and performance

The three movements may be performed as a set, or individually.


Latin text
O nobilissima viriditas
que radicas in sole
et ques in candida serenitate
luces in rota
quam nulla terrena excellentia
Tu circumdata es
amplexibus divinorum
Tu rubes ut aurora
et ardes ut solis flamma.

English translation
O most noble greenness,
you are rooted in the sun,
and you shine in bright serenity
in a sphere
no earthly eminence
attains. You are enfolded
in the embraces of divine
You blush like the dawn
and burn like a flame of the sun.

Contact Karen P. Thomas to purchase this score.

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About Karen P. Thomas

Karen P. Thomas, composer and conductor, is the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Seattle Pro Musica. Her compositions are performed and broadcast throughout the world, by groups such as The Hilliard Ensemble and the Vocal Consort of Brussels. Her works are published by Lucis Music and Santa Barbara Music Publishing, and have been featured at numerous ACDA and AGO conferences. A prize-winning composer, she has received grants from the NEA, The American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and Meet the Composer, among numerous others. As a conductor, Ms. Thomas has produced nine critically-acclaimed CDs, and received the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence and the ASCAP-Chorus America Award. She has appeared as guest conductor at international festivals in Europe and North America, and the NPR radio show Saint Paul Sunday. She received the 2012 Outstanding Choral Director Award for Washington State, and currently serves on the boards of the Pacific NW Chapter for the Recording Academy (Grammy), the American Choral Directors Association (NW Division), and the Greater Seattle Choral Consortium.