My Favorite Summer Movie Experience: Shining Night

Summer movies can provide escape, inspire, provoke and entertain.

All of these qualities are in the documentary Shining Night about American Composer Morten Lauridsen. I sought out the movie following a week of learning to sing Lux Aeterna, (a contemporary requiem composed on Lauridsen’s mother’s death), at a Richmond, VA choral workshop organized by Berkshire Choral International.

A Composer’s Thoughts

Born in 1943, three of his compositions are the most popular choral sheet music ever sold: Lux Alterna, O Magnum Mysterium, and Dirait-On.

The movie is a biography of the composer, and more importantly conversations about his creative motivations. Lauridsen is a mystic who translates both older Christian scriptures and contemporary poetry (“time tested words”) into musical expressions.

His descriptions of the these efforts are insightful. He is inspired by the belief that “There is something bigger than us out there. We must tap into that.”

He talks about “an absolute desire” to create because you have been sparked by something that makes you “feel whole” and provides inner peace.

An Inner Song

For Lauridsen, his way of finding meaning was writing music to share “this inner song.”

Very few are blessed with the genius of combining words and music to express one’s purpose. He acknowledges that sharing an “inner song” is no easy task, but that doing so “will change lives.”

That is the creative contribution we too often take for granted. But that is the light or to use his Latin word, Lux, that helps each of us believe each day is indeed worth living.

I hope an experience that enlightens will also be part of your summer.

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