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Nox Noctis (Reign of Night)

for SSATB choir and electric guitar

Year:  2011   ·  Duration:  6m

Year:  2011
Duration:  6m

Mark Smythe

Composer:   Mark Smythe

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: pages 1–2 of score

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"Nox Noctis" = "reign of night" from Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem Hymn of Apollo. Apollo's song is apocalyptic and metaphoric - he's taking us on a dark/light/dark journey that traces an indestructible cosmic order, where everything is potentially identical to everything else. A universal 'echo'...and that's why the guitar uses an echo effect. This piece was first performed 11/6/11, but was slightly revised for the 2023 American premiere by LA Choral Lab. This new version was also performed by The Kansas City Chorale.

Difficulty note

Suitable for professional or advanced community choir

Text note

Hymn of Apollo - Percy Bysshe Shelley (translation by Mark Smythe)

The sleepless Hours who watch me as I lie,
Curtained with star-inwoven tapestries,
From the broad moonlight of the sky,
Fanning the busy dreams from my dim eyes,--
Waken me when their Mother, the gray Dawn,
Tells them that dreams and that the moon is gone.

somnus turbatas Hora quisnam vigilo mihi ut ego recubo,
Velum per astrum textus vestis,
Ex prolixus luna lucis divum,
Flatus districtus somnium ex meus fragilis oculi,--
Excito mihi ut suum Matris, stolidus Diluculo,
Dico lemma ut somnium quod ut luna est absentis.

The sunbeams are my shafts, with which I kill
Deceit, that loves the night and fears the day;
All men who do or even imagine ill
Fly me, and from the glory of my ray
Good minds and open actions take new might,
Until diminished by the reign of Night.

Sol Solis es meus radium, quicum ego iuguolo Furta,
ut diligo nox noctis quod vereor dies;
Totus hominis quisnam operor vel vel statua peius.
No mihi, quod ex palma of meus lumen
bonus mens quod patefacio factum novus vires,
Insquequo miniatus per corrigia Nox noctis.

V6 (first sentence only):
I am the eye with which the Universe Beholds itself.

Ego sum lumen quicum universum Aspicio ipsum.