Professor keeps Jesuit music alive through motet by French composer

Piece dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint and namesake of University | April 1, 2006

In this day of pop, rock, alternative, rap, Latin, country and folk, assistant music professor and choral director Tom Merrill has found himself immersed in a totally different type of music. Merrill recently completed editing a motet by French Baroque composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier called "In Honorem Sancti Xaverii Canticum" written in the 1680s. The piece is dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint and namesake of the University. The piece is being performed Saturday, June 10, at the meeting of the Detroit and Chicago Jesuit provinces at Xavier, as well as at other performances such as Xavier’s spring music festival.

According to Merrill, the piece has been recorded in France, but to his knowledge it has never been recorded in the United States. Merrill hopes to publish a performing edition of the piece by the end of the year.

Merrill has also taken a prayer by St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, titled "Suscipe, Domine" and put it to music, bringing the prayer to new life. This piece was performed by the University’s vocal chamber ensemble at Xavier’s 175th anniversary celebration kickoff in January.

It is being performed again at the Assuring the Future of Mission and Identity at Xavier year-end celebration on Monday, April 10, at 2:30 p.m. in Bellarmine Chapel.