Unicornis Captivatur

SATB A Cappella
Lyrics: Anon.
Language: Latin
Duration: 7:00


Unicornis Captivatur is a sprightly early music-inspired piece with a lyrical middle section, written in 2001 and premiered by the Norwegian Academy of Music Chamber Choir and conductor Grete Pedersen in March that year.


The text is part of a compilation of medieval chants called the Engelberg Codex, belonging to the Engelberg monastery in Switzerland. The collection was completed around 1400. I was greatly inspired by the colorful and powerful symbolism and just the sheer drama, joy and sense of triumph that the text exudes.


Unicornis captivatur,
Aule regum presentatur
Venatorum laqueo,
Palo serpens est levatus,
Medicatur sauciatus
Veneno vipereo.


Alleluia canite,
Agno morienti,
Alleluia pangite,
Alleluia promite
Leoni vincenti.


Pellicano vulnerato
Vita redit pro peccato
Nece stratis misera,
Phos fenicis est exusta,
Concremanturque vetusta
Macrocosmi scelera.


Alleluia canite…


Idrus intrat crocodillum,
Extis privat, necat illum,
Vivus inde rediens;
Tris diebus dormitavit
Leo, quem resuscitavit
Basileus rugiens.


Alleluia canite…



The Unicorn is captured,
It´s presented to the royal court
In the hunters´ snare;
Creeping, it freed itself from the pole;
Because it´s wounded, it heals itself
With the viper´s venom.


Sing Alleluia
To the dying lamb;
Sing Alleluia,
Cry Alleluia
To the victorious Lion.


Life returns to the wounded Pelican
After miserable death
In its nest for the sins of the world.
The Phoenix´ light is burnt out,
The ancient sins of the world
Are utterly consumed by flame.


Sing Alleluia…


The Hydra enters the crocodile,
Deprives it of its entrails, kills it,
And comes back alive.
Three days long
the Lion slept till the King
Awakened it with a roar.


Sing Alleluia…