In Noctem

This morning I was listening to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on Spotify (it’s like iTunes but online; you can’t keep any of the music but you can listen online for free. No, it does not work in the U.S.). While it seems I’m one of the only people to like this soundtrack by Nicholas Hooper, I think we can all agree that “In Noctem” is simply stunning. I’ve been listening to it on repeat while I track down the lyrics from a spattering of online forums. This is the best I can get:

Carry my soul into the night
May the stars light my way
I glory in the sight
As darkness takes the day

Ferte in noctem animam meam
Illustrent stellae viam meam
Aspectu illo glorior
Dum capit nox diem

Cantate vitae canticum
Sine dolore actae
Dicite eis quos amabam
Me numquam obliturum

Sing a song, a song of life
Lived without regret
Tell the ones, the ones I loved
I never will forget
Never will forget

I would love to be in a choir that sang this…

(I checked some of the Latin, but not all of it, because I am supposed to be writing Chapter Two of the Devilish Dissertation.)

EDIT: Many thanks to Muso and Apodeictic who provided corrections in the comments below. By the traffic my humble little blog has gotten the past 48-hours I know that there are many, many fans who are happy to have the lyrics to this piece!

Beware spoilers:

I think this was supposed to be sung by the Hogwarts choir at Dumbledore’s funeral but for reasons unknown this was cut from the film. I am glad, however, that it was kept for the soundtrack.

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21 thoughts on “In Noctem

  1. Joseph Roc says:

    Chera, thanks for posting the lyrics here. The lyrics are beautiful and amazing. I’ m curious though about the English translation of the middle stanzas.

    If the funeral scene was shown and that was played, it would really capture the moment.

    You’re not alone. I also appreciate and love listening to (film, TV series and game) scores and soundtracks. I only listen to mainstream if it fancies my taste.

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  2. Muso says:

    Hi there,

    Most of the lyrics are right, but:

    ‘light’ in v.1 is in fact ‘guide’

    I think ‘obliturum’ is ‘oblitur’

    I sang on the soundtrack to this and seem to remember the last syllable going on for ages! Think that would make sense (oblitur=I will forget, I think, but I might be wrong!)

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    • Chera says:

      Thanks Muso! I’ll make the edits. My Latin dictionary doesn’t have ‘oblitur’, but ‘obliturum’ is the future tense of ‘to forget’. It’s hard to hear the last syllable though. I’m surprised that the lyrics haven’t been officially released anywhere (yet).

      How cool to have sung in the choir

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      • Muso says:

        I’m not great on my Latin, but if that is the future tense of ‘to forget’, would it be ‘to have forgotten’? I think the reason it might not be in your dictionary is because it is a verb, possibly oblittere (not sure how many Ts!), but it’s entirely possible that I’m wrong! I just seem to remember singing ‘oblituuuuuuuuuuuuur’ and it going on for ages!

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  3. Chera says:

    Muso: I think the future tense still works because it is an event taking place in the future, i.e. ‘I will forget’ isn’t happening in the present. But then, I’m only on my second cup of tea today so I may not be explaining that properly.

    The dictionary I use is Whitaker’s Words and it’s nothing short of amazing: http://archives.nd.edu/words.html It parses the word for you. ‘Oblitur’ does not exist, but ‘obliterum’ does, which makes me think it should be ‘obliterum’. My Latin isn’t all that great either; Middle English is more my field of study. I can ask one of my friends though.

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  4. Muso says:

    Sorry, I didn’t quite explain myself there! I think what I meant to say was ‘will have forgotten’…but is ‘obliturum’ an infinitive?

    Maybe if I have time i’ll have a hunt for one of the copies we sang from – think that would solve it once and for all!

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  5. Apodeictic says:

    Like Muso I also sang on the recording of this (Muso who are you? OK, you don’t have to answer that question in this anonymous forum if you don’t want to. But to reveal my identity to you I’m the Antipodean member of Team Tenor ;-)). That’s some good memory work by Muso on the words we sang (better than I think I could have remembered) but unlike Muso I do, however, have the score in front of me.

    It’s possible that the score I have is NOT the final version we used BUT going by my pencil markings I’m fairly confident it is. Of course one further qualification needs to be made: I’m in the tenor section which means that any changes to the words which affected only the sopranos, say, probably weren’t marked by me on my score.

    Going by my score:

    *First verse: line 2 LIGHT instead of guide.

    Unlike Muso who suggested it was “guide” instead of “light” in the first stanza my score actually has “light”.

    *Third verse:

    Also I will say that my Latin is not good enough to be able to say whether something is grammatically correct etc but what I can say is what is written on my score and that is obliturUM.

    The final syllable is hard to make out. Going from memory what I think we did was sing -uuuuu(r) for ever and then briefly and softly closed it with an m (very much like tu-um at the end of “Lamentations” on our own CD).

    *Final verse: LIVED instead of made

    * Final verse: LOVED (past tense) instead of love.

    So once again here are the words from my score, with changes in upper case:

    Carry my soul into the night
    May the stars LIGHT my way
    I glory in the sight
    As darkness takes the day

    Ferte in noctem animam meam
    Illustrent stellae viam meam
    Aspectu illo glorior
    Dum capit nox diem

    Cantate vitae canticum
    Sine dolore actae
    Dicite eis quos amabam
    Me numquam obliturum

    Sing a song, a song of life
    LIVED without regret
    Tell the ones, the ones I LOVED
    I never will forget
    Never will forget

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  6. Apodeictic says:

    One final comment from me and then I’ll shut up: The piece can be heard in full at the end of the final credits. Most people get up and leave the cinema before this though 😦 But I think it’s worth sitting through the credits for this. And I don’t say that because I got to sing in it. I think I would still say that if it was a different choir singing it. I say it because it’s a nice piece of music which fits the mood of the film well (although to be completely honest with you I wasn’t terribly enamoured with it the first time we sang it during a regular rehearsal — but hey, it kinda grows on you and by the end of the recording session I was liking it). We were told that they were going to shoot a scene to go with this piece with a choir (not us) singing it on screen (to our voices). But as we all know that scene didn’t make the final cut.

    Other than at the end of the final credits, excerpts of “In Noctem” (the middle section in Latin) can be heard as background music throughout the movie. I counted four or five instances of it throughout the film. But then again I knew the piece before I went to see it and was specifically listening out for it 🙂

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  7. melissa says:

    Thank you so much for all of this. I absolutely love this vocal piece of the soundtrack. To Apodeictic (facinating name), I never leave a theater until the credits finish because the music is usually amazing. I am envious that you were part of the choir on this. It is wonderful that you were allowed to keep any part of the original score. Treasure that because someday it could be valuable. I have seen the movie twice and am still working on putting scenes in my head with the CD of the soundtrack. I will listen for for excerpts of In Noctem at my next viewing.

    From Texas,
    Melissa

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    • Apodeictic says:

      Well it’s not the name my parents gave me 🙂 It’s just a screen name I go by for the purposes of blogging. My actual name is not particularly interesting.

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  8. Jeremy (Oxfordshire, England) says:

    No Chera! you are absolutely wrong! you arent alone listening to this tune “In Noctem” I am in love with this particular soundtrack, this tune really sends a very important message to the world from Hogwarts, The Heavenly theme, a masterpiece of Nicholas Hooper…Bless

    Cheers!

    Jeremy

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  9. Ruach says:

    Obliturum = going to forget (future participle describing “Me”.)
    Me obliturum = direct object of “dicite” (tell).

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  10. Liz says:

    I am astounded at the music at the end – I will be bringing In Noctem to my students to sing, and “Weasley Stomp” to my student orchestra! I always stay til the end – the music to this film is notable. It’s been fun reading all of your posts to solve the lyrics-mystery.

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