LA LUCERNA DEL MONDO for orchestra


Commissioned by the European Youth Music Festival 1996 in Copenhagen, and is dedicated to the Jeugd Orkest Nederland and its conductor Roland Kieft. The score was revised in 2005.


The composition was inpired by the following lines from Dante’s Paradiso:


Surge ai mortali per diverse foci

la lucerna del mondo; ma da quella

che quattro cerchi giugne con tre croci,

con miglior corso e con migliore stella

esce congiunta, e la mondana cera

più a suo modo tempera e suggella..

                                                               Canto 1: 37-42

English translation:

The lantern of the world approaches mortals

by varied paths; but on that way which links

four circles with three crosses, it emerges

joined to a better constellation and

along a better course, and it can temper

and stamp the world’s wax more in its own manner.


This is one of the most enigmatic parts  of Dante’s Divina Comedia. According to Dutch translator Frans van Dooren, Dante is refering to the beginning of Spring. The 4 circles  probably represent the zodiac, the equator, the equinoctial colure, and the horizon, which cuts the others, resulting in 3 crosses. “La lucerna” stands for the sun, or God, and the 4 circles and 3 crosses also represent the 4 cardinal and the 3 divine virtues respectively.

The composition is mainly based on the seven tone  scale of Db major, or Bb minor.

In the score, these 7 tones more or less act for the 4 circles and the 3 crosses.

In the grand finale of the piece, all seven tones come together, first in the French horns on page 36,bars 95, 96 and 97: 3 crosses, four circles, 3 crosses ) , after which the orchestra forms a giant cluster, which stands for ‘la lucerna del mondo’, the lantern of the world.


                                             Jacob Ter Veldhuis


Duration: 6’ ( max.)     Score in C.



3 flutes

3 oboes

3 Bb clarinets

3 bassoons


4 french horns in F

3 trumpets in C

2 trombones

1 bass trombone

1 tuba


4 timpani


percussion  sharing instruments

percussion 1: xylophone, glockenspiel, snare drum, tam tam

percussion 2: glockenspiel, clash cymbals

percussion 3: snare drum, bass drum, clash cymbals




string orchestra


Score in C


*A long clusterplank for the piano is required, to hit all the black keys simultaneously in the final chord.


Publishers: DONEMUS and PEER Clasical for Noth America.