Invocation (a cappella version)

SATB (divisi) a cappella

Recording credit: Seattle Pro Musica, conducted by Karen P. Thomas, from their CD titled Celtic Christmas

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God of the moon, God of the sun,
God of the globe, God of the stars,
God of the waters, the land, and the skies,
Who ordained to us the King of promise.

It was Mary fair who went upon her knee,
It was the King of life who went upon her lap,
Darkness and tears were set behind,
And the star of guidance went up early.

Illumed the land, illumed the world,
Illumed doldrum and current,
Grief was laid and joy was raised,
Music was set up with harp and pedal-harp.

God of the moon, God of the sun,
Who ordained to us the Son of mercy.
The fair Mary upon her knee,
Christ the King of life in her lap.
I am the cleric established,
Going round the founded stones,
I behold mansions, I behold shores,
I behold angels floating,
I behold the shapely rounded column
Coming landwards in friendship to us.
— from the Carmina Gadelica


John Muehleisen’s “Invocation” is from his celebratory Christmas cycle entitled This Night—originally for choir and harp—which was commissioned and premiered by the Dale Warland Singers during their farewell season (2003-2004) when Muehleisen served as the group’s final composer-in-residence. Like the other movements in the work, the text for “Invocation” is drawn from the Carmina Gadelica, a voluminous anthology of ancient Celtic texts gathered by English tax collector and amateur ethnographer Alexander Carmichael while he carried out his governmental duties in the Scottish Highlands. “Invocation” describes the Nativity of Christ through mystical images of nature, of light piercing darkness, and of grief being replaced by joy, accompanied by allusions to the star of Bethlehem and the heavenly angelic host announcing the birth. The a cappella version of this movement was created especially for Karen P. Thomas and Seattle Pro Musica and was premiered by them in Dec. 2011.