VENI, VENI, EMMANUEL  for choir and organ

Title, Duration, Place, Year, Publisher, Dedicated to, Premiere (performer(s), place, date)

VENI, VENI, EMMANUEL for SATB choir and organ, 10', Chatou, 2019, U.M.P., to Justine Doswell, BBC singers, Sofi Jeannin, conductor, Temple Church, London, 20.12.19.


« Yet to all who did receive him,

to those who believed in his name,

he gave the right to become children of God –

children born not of natural descent,

nor of human decision or a husband’s will,

but born of God. » John 1, 12-13



This is a setting for mixed choir of the Advent hymn Veni, veni, Emmanuel. 5 stanzas of the text appear for the first time in the Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum (Cologne 1710) and 2 others in the Cantiones Sacrae published by Joseph Hermann Mohr en 1878, to complete the reference to the respective 7 O antiphons on which they are based. The melody is an adaptation by Thomas Helmore in 1851 of a setting of the Libera me (15th century, France).


My composition follows the structure of the text, tone painting the smiling acrostic of Ero cras (common to the O antiphons and Veni, veni, Emmanuel) and the approach of the Beloved, hence the use of the ascending circle of fifth, with one key per stanza : Veni Emmanuel in D - Veni Rex gentium in A - Veni O Oriens in E - Veni Clavis Davidica in B - Veni O Jesse virgula in F# - Veni Adonaï in C# - Veni O Sapientia in G#. The modulations between the different stanzas increase the rhetorical tension. The suspensive final cadence symbolises the « children of God » welcoming the Word.


Naji Hakim

Naji Hakim : Veni, veni, Emmanuel, excerpt from the sketches