When I first started the process of setting Psalm 148 verse 3 – Laudate eum sol et luna; laudate eum omnes stellae luminis – to music, I had intended to include the whole of the text in one longer choral work. However, I soon came to realise that my stylistic intent with respect to its two component parts were in stark contrast with one another. And so, it became instead, two pieces.
In the opening bars of laudate eum omnes stellae luminis the choir depicts the luminous quality of a twinkling star, singing long note suspensions moving from close to wider harmonies in divisi, above which the solo soprano voices insert pin-pricks of light from distant stars. The main section contains an 8 bar canon theme for equal voices. This provides the foundation and the climactic development over which the two solos exclaim “Laudate! Stellae luminis.” Once again, the choir returns to singing a reprise of the long suspensions of the opening and finally a series of luminous seventh chords, where the heavenly solo voices linger in the distance.