SATB - duration c. 3'40"
Salvator mundi was commissioned by the Pennsbury High School Choirs (James D. Moyer, conductor) for their tour of Germany and Austria. It was premiered by the Pennsbury High School Touring Choir and Amici Musicae (Ron-Dirk Entleutner, conductor) at the famed Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany in a program that featured works by Felix Mendelssohn and Leonard Bernstein.
My setting of this well-known prayer is largely based on a piece of 16th-century visual art of the same name, Salvator mundi, attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. Though many artists have created similar paintings depicting Christ in this fashion, Leonardo’s is of the small minority in which the orb that Christ holds in his left hand lacks any sort of ornamentation or indeed any kind of religious symbol at all. The orb, as it appears in other depictions, is referred to as a globus cruciger (cross-bearing orb). This term does not apply in this instance, as the orb lacks a cross, existing purely as an unblemished globe – calm and serene, mirroring the expression that is present on Christ’s face. Musically this piece exists in much the same fashion: subdued and reverent, with understated dynamic contrasts representing a very human supplication to Christ.