Kati Agócs (1975 - )

Morning Star is a three-minute motet for SATB chorus designed as a prelude to Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern (How beautifully the morning star shines), BWV 1. The piece was commissioned by Emmanuel Music in celebration of their Fiftieth Anniversary season and written in the Spring of 2020. I chose as my text the Regina Coeli (Queen of Heaven) prayer set in Latin, with an added interpolation in Latin — “fear not” — that is not in the original prayer. There is an Eastern Orthodox feel to the harmony and rhetoric, with a modal inflection embodying a kind of heightened archaism and sensuality, suggesting that it could perhaps precede the Bach piece in time. A mordant figure (decoration) runs throughout the piece, appearing first in the male voices and later becoming omnipresent. The motet anticipates the structural harmony of the cantata, the final alleluia and cadence more pointedly so. In preparing the cantata’s atmosphere of cosmic anticipation and brightness, I am underscoring what the new Mother-to-be might experience upon hearing the news of the Annunciation.

© Kati Agócs

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