• Judith Weir
  • Ascending into Heaven (1983)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the St Albans International Organ Festival with funds from the Eastern Arts Association

  • org
  • SATB
  • 7 min
  • from Hildebert de Lavardin (11th century)

Programme Note

Ascending into Heaven is a setting for choir and organ of a text, given below, by Hildebert of Lavardin (1056-1133), Bishop of Le Mans and Archbishop of Tours. As an illustration of the title, the music (especially the organ part) ascends frequently.

The piece lasts about seven minutes. It was commissioned by the St Albans International Organ Festival 1983 with funds provided by the Eastern Arts Association.

Sion me receptet illa
Sion, David urbs tranquilla
Cujus faber auctor lucis
Cujus portae lignum crucis
Cujus claves lingua Petri
Cujus cives semper laeti
Cujus muri lapis vivus
Cujus custos rex festivus.
In hac odor implens caelos,
In hac festum semper melos.

Urbs caelestis, urbs beata
Super petram collocata
Urbs in portu satis tuto
De longuino te saluto
Te saluto, te suspiro
Te affecto, te requiro

Quantum tui gratulentur
Quam festive conviventur
Quis affectus eos stringat
Aut quae gemma muros pingat
Quis chalcedon, quis jacinthus
Norunt illi qui sunt intus.
In plateis hujus urbis
Sociatus piis turbis
Cum Moyse et Elia
Pium cantem Alleluia


May Sion Receive me
Sion, the peaceful City of David
Whose maker is the creator of light
Whose gates are the wood of the cross
Whose keys are Peter’s word
Whose citizens are always joyful
Whose walls are living stone
Whose guardian is the ruler of the feast.
In this city, perfume fills the sky,
In this city there is always festal melody.

Heavenly City, blessed city
City built upon a rock
City built in a safe haven
From afar I salute thee.
I salute thee, I sigh for thee
I aspire to thee, I seek thee

How much thy people rejoice in thee
How merrily they feast
What desire binds them together
What gems adorn their walls
What chalcedon, what jacinth
Those who dwell within know.
In the streets of this city
Mingling with the bands of the saints
With Moses and Elijah
May I sing my devout Alleluia

© Judith Weir


Ascending into heaven