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Phos hilaron
Music by Owain Park
The Gesualdo Six, filmed at St Bartholomew the Great, London

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This track comes from our third album, ‘Fading’, a programme inspired by the ancient service of compline, featuring atmospheric works that relate to the transition between light and darkness. (available here:

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Among the earliest known Christian hymns, Phos hilaron (‘Gladdening light’) can be dated to at least the fourth century on account of its inclusion in the Apostolic Constitutions—prescriptive texts compiled in the Syrian region in the 370s AD. Contemplating the dying light of the evening, the hymn has traditionally been associated with the ritual lighting of candles, and Owain Park’s 2017 setting, which features a solo line accompanied by soft-grained chords, evokes both the literal and spiritual contrast between darkness and illumination. [Programme note: Owain Park © 2020]

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Hail, gladdening light, of his pure glory poured,
who is the immortal Father, heavenly, blest,
holiest of holies, Jesu Christ, our Lord.

Now we are come to the sun's hour of rest,
the lights of evening round us shine,
we hymn the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit divine.

Worthiest art thou at all times to be sung
with undefiled tongue,
Son of our God, giver of life alone;
therefore in all the world thy glories, Lord, they own.

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The Gesualdo Six | Owain Park