Veni Veni


Text: anon. 15th cen. French
SSAA (div)
Published by Fresh Ayre Music
Commissioned by The Twin Cities Women’s Choir

Veni, Veni is a fantasy on two verses of the medieval Advent hymn “Veni, Veni Emmanuel,” one of the oldest such hymns still in regular use. The luminous original is a French processional of obscure origin, and the text is based on the ninth-century “O” Antiphons; seven chants sung one per night in the week preceding Christmas.

Songs for midwinter in all traditions use the idea of light in literal and metaphorical ways. Most are filled with hope for the renewal of the world from the apparent death of a physical or spiritual winter. I chose to set two verses of the original chant: invocations of light (“O Oriens”) and wisdom (“O Sapientia”). The piece invokes the light by which we recognize the divinity in all things and the wisdom to live according to the knowledge of that divinity. The soloist’s closing phrase “the light in me greets the light in you” (translated from the Indian greeting namaste) is for me the fulfillment of the desire infusing the verses.

Perusal Score (click to view)

SKU: FAM-0069-02 Categories: , ,


Veni, veni O Oriens,
solare nos adveniens,
noctis depelle nebulas,
dirasque mortis tenebras.

Veni, O Sapientia,
quae hic disponis omnia,
veni, viam prudentiae
ut doceas et gloriae.

Sung Translation (Mark Dietrich)
Come, O Dawning of the day
Blessed morning, hallowed light
Illuminate the rocky way
Dispel the shadows of the night

Come, O Wisdom, in whose cause
The hopeful gather here to sing
Teach us the glory of your laws
Bring order to our wandering


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