Rorate Coeli Desuper
Composed by Jakob Handl (1550-1591)
Arranged by Nancy Nourse for Flute Choir
Published by Nourse Wind Publications
Includes score and parts
4 C flutes, Alto flute, and Bass flute
The recommended instrumentaion for this arrangement is 4 C flutes and either alto flute and bass flute or two alto flutes. In the absence of these larger flutes a substitute part for C flute with the low B extension may be used for Flute 5, with either an alto flute on Flute 6, or bass instrument such as a bassoon or 'cello filling in the lowest part. Unless part 5 is played on a C flute, no B foot flutes are needed.
“A Renaissance Motet for Advent”
Jakob Handl, an Austrian/Slovenian sixteenth century composer, was a Cistercian monk who lived for some time at the ancient monastery at Melk. Handl is recognized as a composer of the Venetian polychoral style who wrote numerous masses and motets in five to eight parts. Although far less well known than his eighteenth century namesake, George Frederick Handel, the latter's Funeral Anthem for Queen Caroline of 1737 is based upon a Handl motet.
Rorate Coeli Desuper was composed for the introit for the fourth Sunday of Advent. Handl seems to explore the unsettled restlessness of the few remaining days before Christmas through his wanderings between the tonalities of the minor and its tonic major on the final word, Salvatorem (Saviour). The latin text and its translation are as follows: Rorate coeli desuper, et nubes pluant iustum: aperiature terra, et germinet Salvatorem. (Descend ye heavens, from above and let the skies pour down righteousness; let the earth open up and bring forth the Saviour.)