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God is light

First line:
The darkness is no darkness with thee
2017; SS(S)ATB(B) unaccompanied; commissioned by the Fairhaven Singers
author of text
Psalm 139: 11; 1 Thessalonians 5: 5; 1 John 1: 5

The motet God is light (2017) traces a simple and inspiring arc from darkness to light. The opening setting of the eleventh verse of Psalm 139, ‘The darkness is no darkness with thee’, features murky, unsettled harmonies and expressive, imitative writing between the upper and lower voices. There follows a delicate treatment, favouring the upper voices, of ‘Ye are all the children of light’ (1 Thessalonians 5: 5). Between these two settings, McDowall interposes the bright exclamation for sopranos, ‘God is light’, paving the way for the radiance of the extended and increasingly luminous closing setting of ‘God is light, and in him is no darkness at all’ (1 John 1: 5), which climaxes on an exultant, affirmative A major chord. God is light was commissioned by the East Anglia-based Fairhaven Singers, who, together with the Perse Prep School Choir, premiered the work in the Chapel of Queens’ College, Cambridge.

from notes by Paul Conway © 2021


McDowall: Sacred choral music
Studio Master: CDA68251Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 6 on CDA68251 [5'48]

Track-specific metadata for CDA68251 track 6

Recording date
14 January 2018
Recording venue
Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Adrian Peacock
Recording engineer
David Hinitt
Hyperion usage
  1. McDowall: Sacred choral music (CDA68251)
    Disc 1 Track 6
    Release date: April 2021
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