"Gloria in excelsis Deo" (Latin for "Glory to God in
the highest") is a hymn known also as the Greater
Doxology (as distinguished from the "Minor Doxology" or
Gloria Patri) and the Angelic Hymn. The name is often
abbreviated to Gloria in Excelsis or simply Gloria.
It is an example of the psalmi idiotici ("private
psalms", i.e. compositions by individuals in imitation
of the biblical Psalter) that were popular in the 2nd
and 3rd centuries. Other surviving examples of this
lyric poetry are the Te Deum and the Phos Hilaron.
The hymn begins with the words that the angels sang
when the birth of Christ was announced to shepherds in
Luke 2:14. Other verses were added very early, forming
a doxology, which in the 4th century became part of
morning prayers, and is still recited in the Byzantine
Rite Orthros service.
Antonio Vivaldi wrote several settings of the Gloria.
RV 589 is the most familiar and popular piece of sacred
music by Vivaldi; however, he was known to have written
at least three Gloria settings. Only two survive (RV
588 and RV 589) whilst the other (RV 590) is presumably
lost and is only mentioned in the Kreuzherren
catalogue. The two were written at about the same time
(it is disputed which came first) in the early 18th
Although originally composed for voice and orchestra, I
created this arrangement for Flute & Pipe Organ (2
Manuals & Pedals).