The first classical hit of 2018

The first classical hit of 2018


norman lebrecht

December 27, 2017

We hear that DG is preparing a New Year release to mark the 75th birthday of the Los Angeles-based composer Morten Lauridsen.

I was unfamiliar with his music.

Now I want to hear more.



  • RW2013 says:

    Then you’d like O Magnum Mysterium.

  • Sussn says:

    How can you be unfamiliar with Lauridsen. “O magnum” is standard rep by this point.

  • Shalom Rackovsky says:

    And Les Chansons des Roses.

  • urania says:

    Lux eterna….I love this composer

  • Gene says:

    The only thing better than listening to Lauridsen’s choral works is performing them. Some of his most ardent fans are choral singers. This man is the real deal: his music can change your life.

  • fierywoman says:

    Lauridsen’s music is magic.

  • Les Marsden says:

    Morten Lauridsen was born February 27, 1943 – so perhaps “DG is preparing a New Year release to mark the 70th birthday of the Los Angeles-based composer Morten Lauridsen” should actually note the upcoming commemoration of his 75th birthday.

  • buxtehude says:


    Thanks for the tip.

  • William Sherlock says:

    Great Photo! Now THAT Looks Like A Composer!!

  • Una says:

    Moren Laurisden is a composer in the main unfamiliar to us in England, and to be honest I never heard of him until this morning, even though I am in the mainstream music profession. But Bruce Duffie interviewed this dear man and I am attaching the interview that is very much worth reading, particularly by people like me who really don’t know this man’s music when so many of you on here obviously do. Interesting personality too. I shall look forward to aquanting myself to Moren Laurisden’s music.

    • RW2013 says:

      I love the way the English pride themselves on their ignorance.
      So much for your mainstream profession.

      • Les Marsden says:

        I don’t think we need to start flaming one another.

        I can completely understand why those in the profession may not know of the works of a contemporary composer from another country. It may be so simple an issue as that of an instrumental or orchestral specialist not being aware of a composer whose works are primarily choral/vocal. Before stones are thrown, look within and tell me that YOU are completely aware of the shining lights of ALL the contemporary composers of ALL the “serious” disciplines of ALL nations. Come on – let’s play nicely, shall we?

  • Oresta Cybriwsky says:

    Awesome composer. The best on the market for choral music in my opinion.

  • Norman Krieger says:

    A great composer-artist- teacher and a wonderful colleague !!
    This is very well deserved!!! I am so happy for him!!

  • Ruth says:

    O Magnum Mysterium was included in this year’s carols and lessons from King’s College Cambridge, which is still available to view on the BBC iPlayer listed as “Carols from King’s”. It is lovely.

  • Eric says:

    I really don’t think one can say that Lauridsen is unfamiliar in the main to people in the UK. Polyphony have released two stunning discs of his music on the Hyperion label (2005 & 2007). His Lux aeterna and O magnum mysterium are standard rep for countless choirs the length and breadth of the UK. Aside from Polyphony, he’s been toured by Britten Sinfonia, performed by the LSO, all his music is available in Faber editions. He’s played on Classic FM all the time (and BBC R3 too).

  • Lauridsen Fan says:

    His Mid-Winter Songs on poems by Robert Graves are fabulous, with a particularly nettlesome piano accompaniment. His Lux Aeterna is a real stunner – the recording by Polyphony is gorgeous. There’s a slightly hagiographic documentary about him called Shining Night that has some really stellar performances, and it’s hard not to hear the influence of place in his compositions – wait to you see his island in Washington state.

  • Antonia says:

    Lauridsen’s music is well-known to auditioned choirs. I’m surprised it was unfamiliar to Norman. However, most of the articles seem to have to do with orchestras and opera, not choral ensembles, so this actually should come as no surprise. Norman, we’d love to read more here on choral and vocal ensembles! Great music, that! Are you familiar with Eric Whitacre, Arvo Paert, or Ola Gjeilo? These are composers of similar stature as Lauridsen. If you’re not familiar with them, you’re in for a veritable smorgasbord of spellbinding music! Look on YouTube for VocalEssence’s “Leonardo” (about da Vinci) by Whitacre. See Arvo Paert’s “Magnificat” and Gjeilo’s “Ubi caritas”. Simply stunning, all!

  • Michael Stillwater says:

    ‘Shining Night: A Portrait of Composer Morten Lauridsen’ (2012), deemed ‘a heartening rarity’ by Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal, received four Best Documentary awards. If you are moved by Lauridsen’s music, you may enjoy this film- view trailer or full film online at (Film by Michael Stillwater, co-produced by Doris Laesser Stillwater, for Song Without Borders.)