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Leo Nestor: Sons Of The Morning

World Library FR-1953-SM (1970)

This pre-Novus Ordo Missae work (an important consideration if you’re planning on using it liturgically) displays something that you don’t see very often in this type of music: some classical training amongst the writers and performers. Leo Nestor is the Justine Bayard Ward Professor of Music at the Catholic University of America, and that training–perhaps in progress when this album was produced–shows. He composed and conducted all of the music.

It’s not the most accessible work from the era, and the synthesisers aren’t “leading edge” like they used to be, but it’s definitely beautiful in spots. It’s a pity that Nestor has banished it from his CV. It’s something that deserves a listen.  A good Lenten work.

Update (April 2020): Leo Cornelius Nestor passed away 22 September 2019.  It’s worth nothing that, in his obituary, he still doesn’t own up to Sons of the Morning!

  • Songs (for individual download:)

    1. Genesis
    2. Song Of Creation
    3. Prologue To John (words adapted from The New Testament by Kleist and Lilly)
    4. Prayer
    5. The Lord’s Prayer
    6. Deep Waters Canticle
    7. From Heaven The Lord Looks Down
    8. In The Brightness Of Our Rising
    9. A Meditation On Hope
    10. Hymn Of Love
    11. Sons Of The Morning
    12. The Canticle Of Brother Sun
  • Other Credits
    • Recording Engineer: Jeffrey R. Gile
    • Technical Advisor: Forrest McDonald, OFM
    • Tenors: Arthur Larson, OFM, Forrest McDonald, OFM, Vincent Mesi, OFM, Paul Warren
    • Baritones: Patrick Graves, OFM; David Leary, Gregory Ndour, Thomas Watson
    • Guitarists: Daniel Skarry (Six-String), Daniel van Dyke (twelve-string), Jeremy Young (bass)
    • Cover photography: Ron Caspers, San Francisco
    • Synthesised Sounds: Dr. Glenn Glascow, Electronic Music Department, California State College at Hayward
    • Recorded at Baytown Studios, Hayward, California


3 Replies to “Leo Nestor: Sons Of The Morning”

  1. A million thanks for posting this, Don Warrington! I agree with you that it’s a pity that the accomplished Dr. Leo Nestor has banned these early works of his from his curriculum vitae. In 1969 or early 1970, he visited his alma mater, St. Anthony’s [Franciscan] Seminary High School in Santa Barbara, Calif., where I was a student and a bass player at the time, and premiered five of these songs with our choir, directed by Fr. Forrest McDonald. Some of them we recorded.

    Nestor had achieved distinction as an organist at St. Anthony’s, so not surprisingly, his compositions were a step up in sophistication from the Ray Repp and Sebastian Temple songs which were staples at our folk masses which, much to the bishop’s consternation, drew throngs of people away from their parishes to hear our lively contemporary music, admittedly, like our read-between-the-lines antiwar and social justice messages, not always strictly liturgical. That perhaps is the reason Dr. Nestor seems to have disowned these songs (I cannot find sheet music of them anywhere on the Web, and my mimeographed copies are long gone), although I find them memorable as well as scriptural, with nothing objectionable or sacrilegious.

    I had not known that Nestor subsequently in 1970 recorded the five songs he taught us, plus others, on an album entitled “Sons of the Morning,” at Cal State Hayward, where I started college just after Nestor graduated. I recognized the names of the musicians as friars and older seminarians of my acquaintance. I like the arrangements, except for the synthesizer snippets, which I find extraneous and distracting.

    Thanks again for making these audio clips and album information available on the Web. (I found your site embedded in after a Google search on “Leo Nestor” “Alleluia”. I had remembered some lyrics but not the song titles.)

    Philip Johnston Ross (Philip Intagliata, class of ’70, St. Anthony’s Seminary)


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