Behind the Songs: Agnus Dei

Song stories & lyrics from the album Fire in the Night: Agnus Dei


Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi
(Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world)


I have always found richness & beauty in the church music and requiems written by some of the greats - Bach, Brahms, and Mozart, and even the more recent renditions by the likes of Fauré and Rutter. The richness and depth in their compositions reveal a breadth of expression that we miss out on in some of our more contemporary pieces.

I wrote this Agnus Dei several years ago when I wanted to make the singing of this traditional Latin text accessible to a broader corporate expression in the worship context. It opens with a choral rendition of the Latin: “Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi,” then breaks into a very repetitive chorus in English: “Lamb of God we praise Thee … You take the sins of the world. You’ve taken the sins of the world.”

Recording a choral work was a bit of a risk for me because I knew I needed to record my singers one-by-one (which meant singing / recording individually to a click track) instead of recording as a group which would have included the musical nuances we give in live performances. Still, I am glad to share this version with everyone as it catches the essence of its intended purpose.

I, admittedly, have dreams of completing my own requiem someday. Perhaps this Agnus Dei is just the start!

Agnus Dei

Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi.
(Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world)

Lamb of God we praise Thee
Lamb of God we praise Thee
We praise Thee
We praise Thee

You take the sins of the world
You’ve taken the sins of the world
Amen

© 2005 Julie Bernstein

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