Composer:   Ola Gjeilo
Arranger:   NA
Publisher:   Walton Music Corporation
Edition:   HL08501679/WW1400
Voicing:   SATB div
Setting:   A Cappella


Lee Nelson
St. Cloud State University 2008
R&R Chair College & University

Written by the talented young Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo, Unicornis captivatur is an innovative and exciting new piece. The composer states, “It’s one of those pieces that are not written for any kind of occasion or commission, but are simply born out from the inspiration of a particular text that lights a spark in a composer’s heart.” The text is taken from the Engelberg Codes, a compilation of medieval chants found in a Swiss monastery. Gjeilo masterfully colors the descriptive text through the use of mixed meters, playful harmonies and a wide range of textural contrasts. A recurring Alleluia provides cohesion to the overall formal structure. The work concludes with a final reiteration of the Alleluia text that builds to a powerful fortissimo. The seven-minute piece is exceptionally challenging but is definitely worth the effort.