“Where charity and love are, there God is.” Thus begins the beloved text of “Ubi Caritas. These ancient words have been set to many musical arrangements but the setting by Norwegian-born composer Ola Gjeilo, and sung by Voce8, is one of the best.
Gjeilo states that the work is comprised entirely of original material, but the music is very reflective of Gregorian chant tradition, which in turn “pays homage to the text’s ancient history.” The piece begins with an ethereal chant sung by a soprano soloist and then moves on to SATB unison. At 1:25 the piece breaks into the most exquisite blend of classical choral music and jazz.
“God alone holds the secret of a charity by which we can love others not only as we love ourselves, but as God loves them. The beginning of this love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves… If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them. Can this be charity?
Have a blessed Holy Week!