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Work of the Week – Mary Finsterer: Mysterium I

It’s a new year and Mary Finsterer has delivered us with a new cycle of works! On February 24, 2023, her orchestral piece, Mysterium I, will receive its world premiere by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jamie Martín.

As Finsterer came across an extensive canon of responsorial chants from O magnum mysterium, she became inspired to write Mysterium I which echoes its medieval styles and spiritual settings. This piece is intended to be the first movement of a larger work and aims to do justice to the solemn occasion of an opening gala by evoking a festive atmosphere which marks it as the perfect opener for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s 2023 season.

Inspired by the High Middle Ages: Mysterium I by Mary Finsterer

This Latin text, meant to envision the great Christmas miracle, is believed to date from the 10th century. In Finsterer’s research, she delved into various musical realisations of these words and found:

What unites these works is not only the title, but also the intention each of these composers had for their music: to evoke a sense of awe and wonder, which adds to the devotional nature of the text. It is this sense of awe that inspired Mysterium I. (Mary Finsterer)

The day after the premiere, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra plays Mysterium I one more time, while the composer is already thinking about the sequel....



Mary Finsterer: Composer Profile

Mysterium I: Work Details and Online Score

Website Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

photos: Dean Golja (Finsterer), Nikhil / Adobe Stock (background)