Jubilatio was composed in July 2018 for the Hendrix College Candlelight Carol Competition. The prompt of the contest was to compose a new work appropriate for a Lessons & Carols Service based around an existing carol. My favorite holiday carol is “O Come O Come Emmanuel,” whose verses are a neat packaging of the seven antiphons sung at each Advent service leading up to Christmas, the so-called “O Antiphons” (each begins with “O” as an invocation). The openings of these antiphons are set as a calm, rocking backdrop in Jubilatio. The melodic material comes from two Christmas chants: “Laetabundus” (“abounding joy”), a sequence for Christmas Day, and “Gaudete” (rejoice”), a medieval hymn, both of which express unfettered excitement for the birth of Christ. These are set as faster, less restrained textures.
The Christmas season for me is fraught with a potent mixture of joy, fear, contentedness, and anticipation. Jubilatio seeks to explore the simultaneity of the season: Advent looks forward to Christmas, that which has happened, but also the Second Coming, which is promised; Christmas is joyful and content and fulfilling, but also full of unease & stress, all at the same time. Jubilatio distills all these, and juxtaposes together in an exuberant whirlwind.