Ubi Caritas for Adaptable Ensemble


Grade 3

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For 5 part Adaptable Ensemble + two solo instruments, or voices

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Ubi Caritas

for 5-part Adaptable (Flex) band

* two solo treble instruments (from the ensemble), or even voices, are required at the end of the work.

duration: 4’30

The music (from original vocal score):

Commissioned – as indicated – in God’s glory.

I know many composers have set this text, and it is my complete honor to have been asked to lend my voice to words of such significance and grace. As always, in my compositions involving text, the most important thing to me is to go where the text wants to go.

In the case of Ubi caritas, the texts that stuck with me were “Deus ibi est” (“God is there”), “Exsultemus” (“Let us rejoice”), “Timeamus” (“Let us fear”,)  “corde…sincero” (“a sincere heart”), and of course, “Amen”. And so these were the texts I wanted to give the most significance to, either harmonically, or by repetition. Furthermore, to me, “Let us rejoice” and “Let us fear”,while sounding like opposites – when speaking of God – are actually quite similar. They are both showing humility and reverence. Therefore, when setting these texts (“rejoice” and “fear”), I delve briefly into the keys of A and Eb, which on first blush seem very remote from one another, but in actuality share quite a bit of commonality (note the third and seventh of each key, which are the same). And each is a minor 3rd from our home key of C major, signifying also an equality amongst them (again, in my mind). To signify a difference between them, the “rejoicing” music always rises, while the “fearing” music falls in mirror fashion.

Also, the initial “Deus ibi est” (“God is there”) is sung by the sopranos in a very nurturing range. While functioning harmonically as related to our home key of C major, it also sets up the ending, where, when we add some of the men, our final Amens have a bit of completeness, embodying both men and women in honoring God’s glory.

Jim Stephenson; August 18, 2019

This new adaptable band version is a re-scoring of the original vocal score, in response to the need for flexible rehearsal and performance situations required by the pandemic that began in 2020. With this setting, I wish to encourage legato and reverent playing in wind ensembles, and an encouragement to imitate the sound of voices.

Jim Stephenson; January, 2021

Latin text

Ubi caritas et amor,
Deus ibi est.
Congregavit nos in unum. Christi amor.
Exsultemus, et in ipso jucundemur.
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.
Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. Amen.

English translation

Where charity and love are, there God is.
The love of Christ has gathered us into one.
Let us exult, and in Him be joyful.
Let us fear and let us love the living God.
And from a sincere heart let us love each other (and Him).
Where charity and love are, there God is. Amen.

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