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Choir: In paradisum le baiser de l’enfant Jesu

Duet: Soprano and boy soprano

In the heart of love
We are at peace
I will keep you in my heart of love
I will love you across time and space



Boy soprano AMEN

Choir and boy soprano HOSANNA

In Paradisum is a tender duet for mother and child, with support from the father on the French horn woven into the orchestral ensemble fabric, and the choir  commenting on the holiness of love. This movement is dedicated to my son, Bernard Theodor Boekkooi (b.1997), himself a boy soprano.

The title is a reference to Faure’s exquisite requiem movement of the same name, and this section of  Requiem for the Living  lies between Sanctus 1 and Sanctus 2 , (the company of heaven between the choirs of angels).  Harp and celesta accompany the strings with a broken chord figure (pointillistically displaced) hinting at Faure’s organ accompaniment.  

The text “le baiser de l’enfant Jesu” (the kiss of the infant Jesus) in the opening choral line refers to one movement from Messiaen’s collection of piano pieces Vingt regards sur l’enfant Jesu, in which ecstatic
chords (briefly quoted in transposed form in this example) set the harmonic framework of the keyboard fantasy.

Whale song (recorded) features during the performance of  In Paradisum, representing the sound of the ocean, (and maternal) womb . The opening string figures convey rippling water inhabited by fleeting creatures of the deep on flute and harp.

The overall effect of this movement is deliberately harmonious,  with peaceful sea string expanses and choral clouds (a freely constructed retrograde mirror of the string harmonies) offsetting the exposed solo mezzo-soprano and boy soprano solos.

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