Luminaria Magna

Sacred Choral Music

Hilary Tann composer

Cappella Clausura | Amelia LeClair director
Heinrich Christensen organ

Release Date: March 24, 2023
Catalog #: NV6509
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Vocal Music

Hilary Tann’s profoundly lyrical sacred works shine in LUMINARIA MAGNA, a striking and inspiring collection of songs featuring the voices of Cappella Clausura — led by Amelia LeClair — and the exceptional organ performance of Heinrich Christiansen. Tann’s Welsh heritage and homeland is palpable in these sincere musical devotions, transporting listeners to the foggy moorlands of South Wales. Her profound textual setting captures the rich legacy of Welsh hymnals, while simultaneously pulling text and inspiration from the Japanese Haiku and plainsong traditions. There’s no doubt that the chilling and earnest devotions of LUMINARIA MAGNA will captivate listeners in a varied and rich landscape of uniquely sacred songs.


Hear the full album on YouTube

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Embertides: I. Advent Hilary Tann Heinrich Christensen, organ 3:07
02 The Moor Hilary Tann Cappella Clausura | Amelia LeClair, conductor; Janet Stone, Adriana Repetto, Shannon Larkin - soprano; Barbara Hill, Lisa Hadley, Lisa Bloom - alto 5:02
03 Wellspring Hilary Tann Cappella Clausura | Amelia LeClair, conductor; Janet Stone, Adriana Repetto, Shannon Larkin - soprano; Barbara Hill, Lisa Hadley, Lisa Bloom - alto 3:38
04 Embertides: II. Lenten Hilary Tann Heinrich Christensen, organ 3:33
05 Wales, Our Land Hilary Tann Vanessa Mulvey, flute; Cappella Clausura | Amelia LeClair, conductor; Janet Stone, Adriana Repetto, Shannon Larkin - soprano; Barbara Hill, Lisa Hadley, Lisa Bloom - alto; Francesco Logozzo, Connor Vigeant - tenors; Nathan Halbur, Thomas Valle-Hoag - bass 4:15
06 That Jewel Spirit Hilary Tann Heinrich Christensen, organ; Vanessa Mulvey, flute 5:18
07 Embertides: III. Whitsun Hilary Tann Heinrich Christensen, organ 3:12
08 Measuring the Distance Hilary Tann Barbara Hill, Francesco Logozzo - solos; Heinrich Christensen, organ; Vanessa Mulvey, flute; Cappella Clausura | Amelia LeClair, conductor; Janet Stone, Adriana Repetto, Shannon Larkin - soprano; Barbara Hill, Lisa Hadley, Lisa Bloom - alto; Francesco Logozzo, Connor Vigeant - tenors; Nathan Halbur, Thomas Valle-Hoag - bass 6:51
09 Children of Grace Hilary Tann Adriana Repetto, Lisa Bloom - solos; Heinrich Christensen, organ; Cappella Clausura | Amelia LeClair, conductor; Janet Stone, Adriana Repetto, Shannon Larkin - soprano; Barbara Hill, Lisa Hadley, Lisa Bloom - alto; Francesco Logozzo, Connor Vigeant - tenors; Nathan Halbur, Thomas Valle-Hoag - bass 9:16
10 Embertides: IV. Michaelmas Hilary Tann Heinrich Christensen, organ 4:11
11 Luminaria Magna (Psalm 136) Hilary Tann Heinrich Christensen, organ; Cappella Clausura | Amelia LeClair, conductor; Janet Stone, Adriana Repetto, Shannon Larkin - soprano; Barbara Hill, Lisa Hadley, Lisa Bloom - alto; Francesco Logozzo, Connor Vigeant - tenors; Nathan Halbur, Thomas Valle-Hoag - bass 7:32
12 Incline Thine Ear (Psalm 86) Hilary Tann Heinrich Christensen, organ; Geoffrey Shamu, trumpet; Cappella Clausura | Amelia LeClair, conductor; Janet Stone, Adriana Repetto, Shannon Larkin - soprano; Barbara Hill, Lisa Hadley, Lisa Bloom - alto; Francesco Logozzo, Connor Vigeant - tenors; Nathan Halbur, Thomas Valle-Hoag - bass 8:33
13 Praise, My Soul (Psalm 104) Hilary Tann Heinrich Christensen, organ; Geoffrey Shamu, Liz Jewell - trumpet; Cappella Clausura | Amelia LeClair, conductor; Janet Stone, Adriana Repetto, Shannon Larkin - soprano; Barbara Hill, Lisa Hadley, Lisa Bloom - alto; Francesco Logozzo, Connor Vigeant - tenors; Nathan Halbur, Thomas Valle-Hoag - bass 7:57

Recorded June 13-16, 2022 at Church of the Redeemer in Chestnut Hill MA
Producer Brad Michel
Engineer Brad Michel, Lucas Paquette

Editing, Mixing & Mastering Brad Michel

Cover Image André Bergeron, RCA

Executive Producer Bob Lord

A&R Director Brandon MacNeil

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Production Director Levi Brown
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
Production Assistant Martina Watzkova

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming, Morgan Hauber
Publicity Patrick Niland

Artist Information

Hilary Tann


Welsh-born composer Hilary Tann lived in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York where she was the John Howard Payne Professor of Music Emerita at Union College, Schenectady. Her compositions have been widely performed and recorded by ensembles such as the European Women’s Orchestra, Tenebrae, Lontano, Marsyas Trio, Thai Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

Cappella Clausura


Cappella Clausura was founded by Amelia LeClair in 2004 to research, study and perform the music of women composers. Our twin goals are to bring engaging performances of this music to today’s audiences, and to help bring women composers into the classical canon. Our repertoire extends from the earliest known music by women, written in the middle ages, to the music of our own time.

Amelia LeClair


Amelia LeClair, Affiliated Scholar at the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center, received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Theory and Composition from UMass/Boston and her Master of Music in choral conducting from New England Conservatory, studying with Simon Carrington. She made her conducting debut in Boston’s Jordan Hall in March of 2002.

Her early interest in composition and conducting having been frustrated by the limited opportunities for women in these fields, LeClair was later inspired and motivated by the work of musicologists in the 1970s who dedicated themselves to researching the history of women in classical music, scholars such as Robert Kendrick, Craig Monson, Claire Fontijn, Candace Smith, Judith Tick, Jane Bowers, Liane Curtis, Ann Carruthers, and Laurie Monahan, to name just a few. The work of these music historians and others led to the historic publication of the Grove Dictionary of Women Composers and dozens of other scholarly volumes and articles, and to the greater availability of source material and manuscripts.

With this impetus, in 2004, LeClair founded Cappella Clausura, an ensemble of voices and instruments specializing in music written by women from the 8th century to the present day. In addition to presenting many works by women of the medieval, renaissance, baroque and romantic eras, Cappella Clausura, under LeClair’s leadership, has presented and in many cases premiered music of our own time, from 20th century greats such as Rebecca Clarke to 21st century composers Elena Ruehr, Hilary Tann, Patricia Van Ness, Abbie Betinis, and more.

In 2012, LeClair was appointed a Visiting Scholar, then in 2014 Resident Scholar by the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center. Her work there included the creation of performance editions of long overlooked works by women. In 2011 she transcribed and edited the 18 madrigals by Vittoria Aleotti, a 14 year old Renaissance girl, and subsequently recorded all of them with Cappella Clausura. She recently finished an arrangement for smaller forces of Lili Boulanger’s massive and stunning Psalm 130. Her latest work is a performance edition with all orchestral parts of the great Mass in D (1925) by Dame Ethel Smyth. The Mass in D was never imprinted. It will be published by Furore Verlag in Germany and available to all at long last.

LeClair has been interviewed by Robin Morgan for Women’s Media Center Live; Robin Young of WBUR’s HereandNow, Brian O’Donovan of WGBH, and various local radio and TV hosts. She has presented a talk on Cappella Clausura’s performance of Hildegard von Bingen’s Ordo Virtutum at the annual Medieval Studies Institute in Kalamazoo MI in 2013.

In addition to her work with Clausura, LeClair has conducted workshops for the Syracuse Schola Cantorum, Concord’s Ars & Amici, and Greater Boston Choral Consortium. As a Brandeis Scholar, LeClair presented several lecture demonstrations at the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center and at Regis College. She is former director of choirs at the Church of St Andrew in Marblehead, of Schola Nocturna, a compline choir at the Episcopal Parish of the Messiah in Newton, of Coro Stella Maris, a renaissance a cappella choir in Gloucester, and of the children’s choirs for First Unitarian Society in Newton. She continues to direct and sing with Vermilion, a vocal quartet presenting a monthly evening song at First Unitarian Universalist Society in Newton.

LeClair lives in Newton MA with her husband Garrow Throop. Her children and grandchildren live in Newton and Brooklyn NY.

Heinrich Christensen


A native of Denmark, Heinrich Christensen received the Church Music and Soloist Diplomas from the Århus Conservatory of Music with further studies in France at the Conservatoire de Saint-Maur with Olivier Latry. After a stint as a music director in Malmö, Sweden, he came to the United States in 1998 and received an Artist Diploma in Organ Performance from the Boston Conservatory, where his teacher was James David Christie.

He was appointed Music Director of historic King’s Chapel, Boston, in the year 2000 after serving as the affiliate organist under Dr. Daniel Pinkham for the last two years of Pinkham’s 42-year tenure at the church. At King’s Chapel, he manages the Tuesday Noon Hour Recitals as well as the King’s Chapel Concert Series, and directs the fully professional choir. Heinrich was a prizewinner at the international organ competitions in Odense and Erfurt, and has given solo recitals on four continents.

An avid proponent of contemporary music, he has premiered works by Daniel Pinkham, Carson Cooman, Graham Gordon Ramsay, James Woodman, and several others. He has worked extensively as an accompanist for many choral groups in the Boston area, and has recorded with Philovox, Boston Secession, and Seraphim Singers. He has also recorded Daniel Pinkham’s works for solo voice and organ with Florestan Recital Project. The solo CD Heinrich Christensen plays the C.B. Fisk Organ at King’s Chapel for Arsis Audio was hailed by Gramophone Magazine as a “smorgasbord” of “enormous stylistic flexibility.” For the past 15 years, he has performed an annual recital as a featured soloist of Boston’s venerable First Night celebrations. In February 2011, he released a recording of Bach’s Clavierübung III. In October 2011, Albany Records released The Sacred Voice featuring works of Graham Gordon Ramsay.

His articles have been published in The American Organist, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. He was a recitalist at the American Guild of Organists — AGO — Region IV convention in 2011, and he presented a workshop on Scandinavian Organ Repertoire at the AGO National Convention in Minneapolis in 2008. Christensen is a past dean of the Boston chapter of the AGO, served on the steering committee for the Regional Convention 2009, as well as the New Music and steering committees for the June 2014 National Convention in Boston. He was a featured performer at the 2014 convention in a program of chamber music for organ and string quartet.


Embertides consists of four separate movements that take their inspiration from the roughly equal divisions of the church year – “Advent,” “Lent,” “Whitsun,” and “Michaelmas.” These divisions in turn pay homage to earlier, secular traditions – Winter (seeding), Spring (awakening), Summer (harvesting), and Autumn (vintage). The cycle is unified by references to verses from the 11th century plainsong sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus; in addition, each prelude/postlude contains hints of hymns appropriate to each season. Commissioned in 2014 by the American Guild of Organists for the Biennial National Convention in Boston MA.
The Moor, typically moorland in Wales is to be found high on the central plateau. This is where the sky is close to the surface of the earth, and the surface consists of grasses, and mosses, and the occasional outcrop of lichen-covered granite. There is such a moor above the composer’s home in Ferndale, South Wales. It is an ancient place of great bleakness and great beauty. The words of Welsh poet, R. S. Thomas, capture the hallowed quality of the Welsh moorland. Thomas’ words directly inspired the piece and also suggested the use of additional text from the Vulgata. The Welsh hymn, Rheidol, is echoed in the music and the piece ends with a quotation, in Welsh, from the words of the hymn.

The Moor
It was like a church to me.
I entered it on soft foot,
Breath held like a cap in the hand.
It was quiet.
What God was there made himself felt,
Not listened to, in clean colours
That brought a moistening of the eye
In movement of the wind over grass.

There were no prayers said. But stillness
Of the heart’s passions – that was praise
Enough; and the mind’s cession
Of its kingdom. I walked on,
Simple and poor, while the air crumbled
And broke on me generously as bread.
— R. S. Thomas

Laudate, laudate Dominum. Laudate Eum.
Montes et omnes colles Laudent nomen Domini.

Benedic anima mea Domino
Qui ambulas super pinnas ventorum.

Laudate Dominum in sanctis eius.
Laudate Dominum de caelis;
Laudate Dominum de terra.
Vulgata, Psalms 103, 148, 150 (excerpts)

Nefol Dad,
Boed mawrhad,
Taena d’adain dros ein gwlad.

Tr. Heavenly Father, Be there greatness, Drape your wing over our country.

Wellspring was specially commissioned for the Female Choir Competition of the 2008 Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. The text pays homage to William Williams Pantycelyn, hymnist of “Heddiw’r ffynnon a agorwyd,” and the music pays homage to the hymn tune, Bryntirion, by A. H. T. Lutteroth. The Welsh word for water, dŵr – pronounced “doo+r” – is used both for its meaning and for its sound – to imitate water droplets.

after W. W. Pantycelyn
We seek the well that is open,
clear crystal,
full and flowing.
Dale and down will taste
the essence of the water –
dŵr, dŵr, water, water.

Spring, spring,
the bright well,
round drops from roots.

Hazel-rod in hand
we call out dŵr, dŵr
dŵr, dŵr, water, water.

I am earth
says the solid ground,
seasons dance through me.
Rise up,
show us your secret –
dŵr, dŵr, water, water.

*Heddiw’r ffynnon a agorwyd,
clear crystal,
full and flowing.

The veins of the earth
wash away all sorrow –
dŵr, dŵr, water, water.

*Or, translated,
Today, the well has opened, …
© Menna Elfyn

Wales, Our Land was composed during late summer 2002 in response to a commission from the Welsh Heritage Program at Green Mountain College VT. The text, suggested by the then-director of the program Dr. John Ellis, is by an unknown Welsh-American slate quarryman. It speaks of the poet’s love of his country of origin, perhaps, even, his longing to return. It is this sense of longing for the homeland – in Welsh, hiraeth – which infuses the composition.

Wales, Our Land
If Wales, our land, is small
within this wide world,
yet is our country
filled with greatness.
The wise hand of the Lord
may be seen everywhere,
from the green lowlands
to high mountain peaks.

If Wales, our land, is small,
her wealth overflows.
Countless are the treasures
found in her hills.
Her clear streams are
full of life’s music,
drawing down angels
at creation’s dawn.

If Wales, our land, is small,
worthy is her history.
She stands high
in the poets’ gallery.
For all time, from
St. David’s to the present,
Welsh bards sing

Ap Ivor, Fair Haven, VT, trans. Dr. John Ellis; adapted by Hilary Tann. Used with permission.

That Jewel-Spirit was commissioned by Lick-Wilmerding High School to commemorate the life of former student Moe Christie Nakamura. Sacred Mount Haguro links the words of contemporary American poet Penny Harter and the Japanese haiku by Matsuo Bashô (tr. W. J. Higginson). Bashô’s haiku was written at Mount Haguro as a memorial poem; Penny Harter wrote “At the Top of Mount Haguro, Japan,” while she and her husband W. J. Higginson were part of an international party following the Dewa section of Bashô’s “Narrow Road of the Interior.” The connections between “Momo,” – the nickname of the beloved student who was an accomplished singer in her own right — Japan, and the United States are many.

At the Top of Mount Haguro, Japan
I lean against the wooden rail,
hand outstretched toward the sacred crane
whose blue body shines
against the slow drift
of clouds, these heavens
so wide they need a bird.

Risen from the ancient cedars,
its great wings flap silently,
its steady flight a word
my empty palm remembers
as my fingers sign it
into the sky.
©️ Penny Harter
Used by permission

sono tama ya
Haguro ni kaesu
nori no tsuki

that jewel-spirit …
returns to Mount Haguro
the climbing moon
tr. William J. Higginson

The composer’s setting of Penny Harter’s contemporary poem, Measuring the Distance is framed by Latin numbers — 10, 20, 30, 50, etc. — to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Concord Chamber Singers. Musicians have a complex and personal relationship to time: the practical business of notating music; the experiential time of listening; the times of one’s life. In Measuring the Distance, temporal matters gradually give way to an unbounded sense of loving and being loved.

Measuring the Distance
Decem, viginti, triginta, quinquaginta …
Omnes, celebrate!

Unroll a tape measure, stretch it
across the fabric of a day, a year.
Record the reach of the wind
or the height of corn stalks
greening in an abandoned field.

If your tape be infinite, you will
never see the end of it; if finite,
you will run out of numbers,
and clock hands will cease
their commentary.

Raise your two hands before you,
palms facing, and feel the tension
between them as you expand and
compress the invisible accordion
of your days.

Then try to measure love –– love
that can leap any distance to fuse
your atoms with those of your
beloved until you resonate together,
harmonics pure as a tuning fork.

Decem, viginti, triginta, quinquaginta …
Omnes, celebrate!

©️ Penny Harter

Italicized Latin words added by composer

Children of Grace for mixed chorus and organ is inspired by a Tiffany stained glass window, “Christ Blessing the Little Children,” in the First Congregational Church, North Adams MA, United Church of Christ. The window is known as the Sykes window after Thomas Sykes, great uncle to the commissioner, John Bond. Two of the four texts explicitly echo the idea, “come,” as in “suffer the little children to come unto me.” These are the 13th century hymn, Veni, Sancte Spiritus and words of 17th-century poet George Herbert, Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life. Contemporary poet Penny Harter suggested her poem Children of Grace to the composer, and the fourth text, “Enrich, Lord,” again by George Herbert, is from the 1913 Pilgrim Hymnal. The anthem freely weaves together the four texts in a single composition with an extended coda.

Children of Grace
Veni, Sancte Spiritus,
Et emitte coelitus
Lucis tuae radium.

Veni, pater pauperum,
Veni, dator munerum,
Veni, lumen cordium.
C. 13th hymn

Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life :
Such a Way, as gives us breath :
Such a Truth, as ends all strife :
And such a Life, as killeth death.

Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength :
Such a Light, as shows a feast :
Such a Feast, as mends in length :
Such a Strength, as makes his guest.

Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart :
Such a Joy, as none can move :
Such a Love, as none can part :
Such a Heart, as joyes in love.
George Herbert

The children of grace
rise in the morning
pull on their stockings
wash their face.

The children of grace
skip at the daylight,
open the window,
wash their face.

The children of grace
drink sky in a teacup,
lunch on a hilltop,
wash their face.

The children of grace
put leaves of the willow
under their pillow,
wash their face.

The children of grace
go up in the evening,
sleep while the starlight
washes their face
©️ Penny Harter

Enrich, Lord, heart, mouth, hands in me,
With faith, with hope, with charity:
That I may run, rise, rest, with thee.
George Herbert

In commissioning Psalm 136 (Luminaria Magna), the Eastern NY Chapter of the American Guild of Organists asked for “an anthem of praise suitable for amateur church choirs.” The stimulus for setting the opening verses of Psalm 136 was the discovery of poet John Milton’s gloss on this psalm. Verses from the Milton version are used in the 1940 Episcopal Hymnal as Hymn 308, Monkland. The opening chords of Monkland led to the echoing of Nicea within this present setting. Above all, the work is inspired by the words of James I:17: “…the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

PSALM 136 (Luminaria Magna)
Praise the Lord, for he is good:
Praise ye the God of gods,
Praise ye the Lord of lords.

Let us blaze his Name abroad,
For of gods he is the God.

Who alone doth great wonders:
Who made the heavens in understanding,
Who established the earth above the waters.

That by his wisdom did create
The painted Heav’ns so full of state.

That did the solid Earth ordain
To rise above the wat’ry plain.

Who made the great lights:
The sun to rule over the day,
The moon and the stars to rule the night.

That by his all-commanding might
Did fill the new-made world with light.

And caus’d the Golden-tressèd Sun,
All the day long his cours to run.

The hornèd Moon to shine by night,
Amongst her spangled sisters bright.

Give glory to the God of heaven,
Give glory to the Lord of lords:
For his mercy endureth for ever.

For his mercies ay endure,
Ever faithfull, ever sure.

Text adapted by the composer from the *Parallel Latin/English Psalter, Psalm 135 (136), verses 1-9 and 26, and Psalm 136, verses 2 and 5-9, by John Milton (in italics) [*document combining the Latin text from the VULGATE with the English text from Challoner’s revision of the Douay translation.]

Psalm 86 (Incline Thine Ear) is designed to be a slow movement between previously composed settings of Psalm 136 (Luminaria Magna) and Psalm 104 (Praise, my soul). As in the earlier compositions, the text is adapted by the composer from various sources – John Milton’s glosses on Psalms 85 and 86 and the Vulgate Latin of Psalm 85 (86) – and the music pays homage to two hymns, the Welsh melody, Bangor, and York, the Scottish Psalter melody harmonized by John Milton Sr.

PSALM 86 (Incline Thine Ear)
Inclina Domine aurem tuam
Et exaudi me.

Bow down thine ear,
O Lord, hear me;
Give ear, O Lord,
Unto my prayer.

For thou art great,
Thou art God alone;
Unto thee, O Lord,
Do I lift up my soul.

Domine exaudi vocem meum.

I in the day of my distress
will call on thee for aid;
For thou wilt grant me free access
and answer, what I pray’d.

Cause us to see thy goodness Lord
to us thy mercy shew,
Thy saving health to us afford
and life in us renew.

Thee will I praise O Lord my God,
thee honor, and adore
with my whole heart, and blaze abroad
thy name for ever more.

For great thou art, and wonders great
by thy strong hand are done,
Thou in thy everlasting seat
remainest God alone.
Psalms 85 and 86, John Milton

Bow down thine ear,
O Lord, hear me;
Give ear, O Lord,
Unto my prayer.

Adapted by the composer from Psalm 86 (King James); Psalm 85 (86) VULGATE

Psalm 104 (Praise, My Soul) is based on five verses from Psalm 104 by metaphysical poet Henry Vaughan, b.1621, who was born of Welsh parents at Newton-by-Usk Breconshire, and lived most of his life in Wales. Interspersed within Vaughan’s text are four verses of the Psalm from the King James Bible and the first verse from the hymn Goss written by John Goss (1800–1880). Praise, my soul, was written by H. F. Lyte (1793–1847).

PSALM 104 (Praise, my soul)
for Côr Cymry Gogledd America

Up, O my soul, and bless the Lord. O God,
My God, how great, how very great art Thou!
Honour and majesty have their abode
With thee, and crown thy brow.

Thou clothest thyself with light, as with a robe,
And the high, glorious heavens thy mighty hand
Doth spread like curtains round about this globe
Of air, and sea, and land.

The beams of thy bright chambers thou dost lay
In the deep waters, which no eye can find;
The clouds thy chariots are, and thy pathway
The wings of the swift wind.

He sendeth the springs into valleys,
which run among the hills.

By them shall the fowls of heaven
have their habitation,
which sing among the branches.

The earth is satisfied
with all thy good works.

O Lord, my God, how many and how rare
Are thy great works! In wisdom hast thou made
Them all, and this the earth, and every blade
Of grass we tread, declare.

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven,
To his feet thy tribute bring;
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Who like me his praise should sing?
Praise him! Praise the everlasting King.

Therefore as long as thou wilt give me breath
I will in songs to thy great name employ
That gift of thine, and to my day of death
Thou shalt be all my joy.

O Lord, how manifold are thy works!
in wisdom hast thou made them all:

And this the earth, and every blade
of grass we tread, declare.

Psalm 104, Henry Vaughan, verses 1, 2, 3, 17, 23; King James Bible, Psalm 104: 10, 12, 13, 24; Hymn: Goss; English words, H. F. Lyte; Welsh words, M. Williams; Adaptation, Hilary Tann