Laudato si' (oratorio)

Laudato si'
Ein franziskanisches Magnificat
Oratorio by Peter Reulein
Limburger Dom Oratorium Laudato si 06112016.jpg
Premiere at the Limburg Cathedral on 6 November 2016
TextHelmut Schlegel
  • German
  • Latin
  • Italian
  • Hebrew
Based onMagnificat
Performed6 November 2016 (2016-11-06)
Published2016 Dehm Verlag

Laudato si' is an oratorio composed in 2016 by Peter Reulein on a libretto by Helmut Schlegel. Subtitled Ein franziskanisches Magnificat (a Franciscan Magnificat), it includes the full Latin text of the Magnificat, expanded by writings of Clare of Assisi, Francis of Assisi and Pope Francis. The composer set it for five soloists, children's choir, Choralschola, mixed choir, symphony orchestra and organ. It was published in 2016 by the Dehm Verlag, and was premiered on 6 November 2016 at the Limburg Cathedral, conducted by the composer.


The work was commissioned by the Referat Kirchenmusik im Bistum Limburg (RKM), the division of church music of the Diocese of Limburg, to celebrate the organization's 50th anniversary. The work should display many different musical groups and styles. The text was planned to contain writings by Pope Francis from his Apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium (2013) and his encyclical Laudato si' (2015), and the Magnificat in the traditional Latin. The librettist, the Franciscan Helmut Schlegel, introduced additionally writings by Francis of Assisi and Clare of Assisi, and also a focus on mercy corresponding to the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in 2016. Peter Reulein was commissioned to compose the music. The oratorio was published in 2016 by the Dehm Verlag. The composer conducted the premiere in a concert at the Limburg Cathedral on 6 November 2016.


The work is structured in a prologue and five scenes:

  • Prologue: Erfüllt ist die Zeit (Time is fulfilled)
  • Scene 1: Die Schöpfung tanzt – die Schöpfung klagt (Creation dances – Creation mourns)
  • Scene 2: Gottes Neubeginn (God's new beginning)
  • Scene 3: Er gab dir Atem, gab dir Würde (He gave you breath, gave you dignity)
  • Scene 4: Das Leben feiert Aufstand (Life celebrates uproar)
  • Scene 5: Ein jeder Augenblick ist Anfang (Every moment is beginning)


In the following table, the characters are abbreviated, and background colours highlight the text of the Magnificat (green), texts in Italian (brown), and texts in Hebrew (blue).

Movements of Laudato si'
PrologueAls die Zeit erfüllt warAChSchLento misterioso
1Laudato si' mi SignoreCFPChildren ChAllegro grazioso (Tarantella)
Dies iraeSchAllegro con fuoco
In Klage und Trauer schauen wir zurückPAdagio (Tango de la lamentacion)
Aufbrechen wollen wir, nicht klagenChLento con decisione
2Der Engel war'sAMModerato e dolce
Et verbum caro factum estSchLento
Magnificat anima meaMChAllegro festivoLuke 1:46-47
Quia respexit humiltatemMLentoLuke 1:48
Ecce enim ex hoc beatamMChLento
Glauben können wie duChModerato cantabile
3Es war in KanaMMisterioso
Shalom alechemChildren ChAllegro (Klezmer)
Seht, unentbehrlich ist das weibliche TalentPChUn poco lento quasi recitativo
Du, Gott, hast mir gesagtAMCon moto
Quia fecit mihi magnaMChAndante con motoLuke 1:49
Et misericordiaMChAndante cantabileLuke 1:50
4Stabat MaterSchMLent
Wir standen beide unterm KreuzMLamentoso e pesante
Hört Gottes RufPRecitativo
Fecit potentiamChAllegro con fuocoLuke 1:51
Du Mensch, gedenkeCFLento recitativo
Deposuit potentesChAllegro con brioLuke 1:52
Am andern Tag der neuen WocheMLento recitativo
Et exaltavit humilesChAndante maestoso
EsurientesMChAndante maestosoLuke 1:53
Suscepit IsraelSchMeno mossoLuke 1:53
HallelujaAMCFPChildren ChAllegro (African song call and response
5Sicut locutus estSchQuasi recitativoLuke 1:53
Gott, du bist heiligPAndante grazioso (Tango de la confidencia)
Du bist die FreudeCFP
Gloria PatriChAllegro festivoDoxology
Ein jeder TagChildren ChHymnus
Amen, HallelujaChAndante cantabile in stile barocco
Laudato si'AMCFPChildren Ch


Different actions comment the verses of the Magnificat. The prologue introduces an angel announcing that God sent his Son when the time was fulfilled, the Choralschola emphasizes that the Son shows God's face of mercy, the choir concludes that the time is fulfilled.

Scene 1 introduces Clare and Franz of Assisi singing "Laudato si'" in tarantella rhythm, ultimately joined by the choirs. The schola intones the Dies irae expanded by Pope Francis, singing of the saddening situation of the environment caused by humans, in an Adagio. Tango de la lamentacion to honour the Pope's home country. The scene ends with the Neues Geistliches Lied "Aufbrechen wollen wir, nicht klagen."

In scene 2, Mary tells of her experience of the Annunciation and begins the Magnificat, joined by the choirs. The scene is concluded with the 2009 song "Glauben können wie du" by Schlegel with a melody by Joachim Raabe (GL 885 in the regional part for Limburg).

Scene 3 is focused on the Marriage at Cana, portrayed in Klezmer music. Pope Francis stresses the importance of the female voice in society and church. Mary sings "Et misericordia eius" (And his mercy), now from the Magnificat, joined by the choir.

Scene 4 opens with the schola singing Stabat Mater, facing the Crucifixion. Pope Francis connects in recitative to drama of 2016, such as poverty, wars, and refugees, and forced prostitution. The verses from the Magnificat that focus on God's strong arm creating justice are given to choral fugues, interrupted by Clare and Francis reminding the listener to reflect who he is. The children open Halleluja as an African call and response, joined by all soloists and the mixed choir.

Scene 5 opens with the schola singing the final line from the Magnificat, "Sicut locutus est" (As was spoken), to which Francis, the Pope, and Clare respond with a Tango de confidencia praising God. The choir answers with the doxology "Gloria Patri" which recalls motifs from earlier scenes. A new element is a third song, "Ein jeder Tag und Augenblick ist Neuland," with the audience joining the singing. The work is concluded with a double fugue in stile barocco on Amen/Halleluja.


The oratorio is scored for five solo voices representing characters, children's choir, Choralschola, a large mixed choir divided in up to eight parts, a symphony orchestra, and organ.

The characters are:

  • Angel (soprano)
  • Maria (soprano)
  • Clare of Assisi (alto)
  • Francis of Assisi (tenor)
  • Pope Francis (baritone)

The orchestra features flute (also playing descant recorder), clarinet, oboe, bassoon, two trumpets, two horns, trombone, tuba (ad lib.), timpani, percussion (including tambourine, drums, suspended cymbal, triangle, chimes, tuned glasses, marimba, djembé, glockenspiel), harp and strings.

Premiere and reception

The same performers reprised the work at the Frankfurt Cathedral on 29 January 2017.

In the premiere, the children's and youth choir was from Maria Rosenkranz, conducted by Karin Mayle-Polivka. The mixed choir combined four groups, two from the composer's Liebfrauen, Frankfurt, vocal ensemble and the youth choir Cappuccinis, and two from St. Martin, Idstein, Chor St. Martin and the youth choir Martinis. The Schola was formed by singers from groups in the diocese, conducted by Franz Fink, and sang from the organ loft at the back of the cathedral. often introduced and accompanied by the organ. The orchestra for the occasion was the ensemble colorito, and the cathedral organ was played by Johannes Schröder, the organist at the Westerwälder Dom. The soloists were sopranos Marina Herrmann (Mary) and Janina Moeller (Angel), mezzo-soprano Anna Metzen (Clare of Assisi), tenor André Khamasmie (Francis of Assisi) and baritone Johannes Hill (Pope Francis). More than 250 musical performers contributed to the premiere.

A reviewer of the Nassauische Neue Presse noted the successful premiere, describing the work as a musical collage of biblical verses, action and meditative impulses ("musikalische Collage mit Bibelversen, erzählerischen Elementen, und meditativen Impulsen"). The reviewer, who listed the many performers and commented on several scenes, called the final hymnus a message of peace and joy.

External links

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Laudato si' (oratorio)", which is released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.