Before the End of Light

By Frederick Frahm. Music for organ solo. Dedicated to the Scottish virtuoso and composer Michael Bonaventure, “Before the End of Light” considers a 7th century text by St. Ambrose often associated with the Advent Season.

Procul recedant somnia
et noctium phantasmata;
hostemque nostrum comprime,
ne polluantur corpora.

From all ill dreams defend our eyes,
from nightly fears and fantasies:
tread under foot our ghostly foe,
that no corruption we may know.

(translation by John Mason Neale)

A profound sense of mystery pervades this work. There is contemplation about what the world might be like without Light, without a Redeemer. Midway through the work, at a place of some repose, a quote of the Advent plainchant “Te Ante Lucis Terminum” appears in the pedal. A passage at the end of the piece, a coda of sorts, suggests the tolling of bells for the night has ended and the sun has returned with the morning.