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  • Writer's pictureFr. Scott Haynes

Hymne à la Vierge, Pierre Villette

Pierre Villette (1926-1998) was a contemporary of Pierre Boulez at the Conservatoire National Superieure de Musique in Paris. Unlike Boulez he focussed much more on intimate and small-scale works for chamber ensembles and choirs. He drew on early music, especially Gregorian chant, which he had sung as a child, and combined it with the exotic textures and harmonies inherited from Messiaen and Poulenc. After the death of his father, Villette went home from Paris to run the family business. The strain took its toll on his health and for the rest of his life he spent long periods in the Alps recuperating and composing.


Ô toute belle Vierge Marie,

Votre âme trouve en Dieu le parfait amour

Il vous revét du manteau de la Grâce

comme une fianceé pareé de ses joyaux.

Alléluia, alléluia. Je vais chanter

ta louange, Seigneur,

Car tu as pris soin de moi,

Car tu m’as enveloppeé

du voile de l’innocence,

Car tu m’as faite avant le jour,

Car tu m’as fait précéder

le jaillissement des sources.

Vous êtes neé avant les collines

Ô sagesse de Dieu, porte du Salut

Heureux celui qui marche dans vos traces

Qui apprête son cœur a la voix de vos conseils.

Avant les astres vous étiez présente

Mère du Créateur au profond du ciel.

Quand Dieu fixait les limites du monde

Vous partagiez son cœur

étant à l’œuvre avec lui.

Roland Bouhéret

English Translation

O fairest Virgin Mary,

Your soul finds in the Lord perfect love;

He clothes you in robes of grace

Like a bride attired with jewels.

Alleluia. I will sing thy praise,

O Lord, For thou hast looked after me,

and covered me with the veil of innocence.

You were born before the hills,

O wisdom of the Lord,

Gate of Redemption,

Blessed be he who walks in your steps

And tunes his heart To the counsels of your voice. Alleluia.

I will sing thy praise, O Lord,

For thou hast made me, before dawn,

For thou has made me precede the Gushing forth of springs.

Before the stars you were there,

Mother of the Creator,

In the highest Heaven;

When God was setting the limits of the world

you shared his love As you laboured with him.

Alleluia O fairest Virgin Mary.

Enjoy this live recording of April 29, 2016 at the Grote of Jacobijnerkerk, Leeuwarden (the Netherlands). More information and concert dates: This is a co-production of the Nederlands Kamerkoor, Brava and Concerto Media for "Nederland vol koren.""

Filming and editing: Concerto Media.


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