6 user

Shining Night: A Portrait of Composer Morten Lauridsen (2012)

1:41 | Trailer
A tribute to a living legend, celebrating the life and music of the artist whom musicologist Nick Strimple has called 'the only American composer in history who can be called a mystic'. ... See full summary »


3 wins. See more awards »





Cast overview:
Morten Lauridsen ...
Dana Gioia ...
Paul Salamunovich ...
Robert Geary ...
Paul Mealor ...
Alex Shapiro ...
Nicol Matt ...
Ola Gjeilo ...
Gary Malkin ...
Giselle Wyers ...
Aundrea Schindler ...
David Loyd ...
Ryan Drum ...


A tribute to a living legend, celebrating the life and music of the artist whom musicologist Nick Strimple has called 'the only American composer in history who can be called a mystic'. National Medal of Arts recipient and most frequently performed American choral composer, Morten Lauridsen spends summers on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest. Featuring intimate interviews in California, Scotland and Waldron Island, Washington, interwoven with performances of his masterworks and commentaries by music contemporaries. Revealed through the lens of his passion for nature and music, Lauridsen expresses a presence of fierce compassion and unwavering dedication to the craft of composition. First episode in the film series, 'In Search of The Great Song'. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

island | nature | silence | healing | chorus | See All (7) »


A man, an island, and music that moves the world... See more »

Parents Guide:




| |


Release Date:

7 February 2012 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


See  »

Did You Know?


Lux Aeterna
Written by "Morten Lauridsen"
Performed by "Polyphony and Britten Sinfonia, conducted by Stephen Layton"
Courtesy of Hyperion Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

This film is simply sublime
20 February 2012 | by (Desert Edge, CA) – See all my reviews

It is hard to put into words what I experienced in this film. (that is why we have music after all). There are so many levels of excellence here. First of all, this first time filmmaker has made a lovely documentary. It has the qualities one looks for in a documentary. He allows us to get to know his subject, informing and inspiring us. But the style of filmmaking is a work of art comparable to the artistry of Morten Lauridsen. The film feels like a symphony, weaving in and out of musical/visual motifs. This is perhaps not surprising, because the Michael Stillwater is a talented musical composer in his own right, which is why I was first drawn to the film. And maybe it took another musician to bring the enchanting music of Mr. Lauridsen into a visual work of art.

Morten Lauridsen is one of America's treasures. The Wall St. Journal called him the "best composer you've never heard of" and describes his music as "radiantly beautiful". He has been described as a mystic, but the film shows him also as a man, a nature lover, an artist, a teacher, conductor, performer, and lover of poetry, art, and all things beautiful. This music, that if I had to find words describe, I would use, mystical, transcendent, romantic, sumptuous, moving, even inspiring, is interwoven in the film with pictures of the life of Mr. Lauridsen, many interviews with him and other musicians. There are beautiful shots of Scotland and his stark home on a tiny island off the coast of Washington, where he lives for the half of the year that he is not teaching at USC.

I always find it fascinating to watch documentaries about artists. I am a musician, and getting a little bit inside the head of a creative genius is always inspiring to me.

I was lucky enough to see a screening of the film which preceded a concert of Lauridsen's music sung by the USC Chamber singers and accompanied on two songs by the composer on the piano. I was left speechless for days, swimming in the ecstasy of the kind of music that you are sure comes from angelic realms. If you have an opportunity to hear Mr Lauridsen's music performed live, do indeed rush to do so. But don't miss out on the experience of this film. It will allow you to bathe all of your senses in a work of art, and learn about a really fascinating genius composer at the same time.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Contribute to This Page