It happens most often in comedy movies. The protagonist has just had an epiphany (or pseudo-epiphany), found the plot-relevant object or achieved an important goal, and their success is greeted with the sound of an angelic choir and perhaps a ray of heavenly light.
In order to really hammer home the importance of the moment (and because they are well and truly in the public domain) movie-makers often fall back on excerpts from two instantly-recognisable pieces of stock music to convey the significance of this moment.
Baroque composer and priest Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) actually composed three settings for the Gloria, which may date back as far as the 4th century A.D. The English equivalent runs:
Glory to God in the highest!
And peace to God’s people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father.
We worship you, we give you thanks,
We praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
You take away the sin of the world –
Have mercy on us.
You are seated at the right hand of the Father:
Receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One;
You alone are the Lord;
You alone are the Most High.
With the Holy Spirit
In the glory of God the Father.
The Gloria is still said or sung in many of the more liturgical types of church services today, although it is deliberately omitted during Lent as an acknowledgement of the solemnity of the season.
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) was another Baroque composer, who was born in Germany but ultimately settled in England where he wrote one of his most famous works, The Messiah. The ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ marks the climax of the second scene of the oratorio, which recounts the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, and is a victorious proclamation of Christ’s triumph over death. The Hallelujah Chorus repeats many lines, but unpick them and you get something like:
For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
The kingdom of this world
The kingdom of our Lord
And of His Christ…
And he shall reign forever and ever….
King of Kings, forever and ever,
And Lord of Lords, forever and ever,
And he shall reign forever and ever…
Here’s a clip from New Zealand movie What We Do In The Shadows, featuring Vivaldi’s Gloria. Share your exampled below!