Carpe Diem


Horace (65 BC- 8AD )

In Horace's Ode, Leuconoe is encouraged to indulge in the present, as the future is uncertain. The Latin phrase carpe diem is popularly translated as "seize the day," although a more literal translation of carpe would be "pluck" as in the picking or plucking of fruit.

"Carpe Diem" begins with rich sonorous textures, evolving into a rhythmic mixed meter dance accompanied by tambourine. Like a party winding down, it finishes as it began with lush chords like a big red wine. "Carpe Diem" was commissioned in 2008 by the Northwest Chamber Chorus (Seattle) in celebration of its 40th anniversary.


Item Voicing/Instrumentation Duration Price Audio View Score Quantity
SBMP 862 SATB, alto solo, tambourine 4:45 $2.35 Santa Barbara Music Press
Publisher Link

Audio Credits: 

University of Washington Chorale, Dr. Giselle Wyers, director



Carpe Diem

sapias, vina liques et spatio brevi

spem longam reseces. dum loquimur,fugerit invida

aetas: carpe diem quam minimum credula postero


Be wise, drink your wine

Scale back your long hopes to a short period

Even as we speak, envious time is running away from us

Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future


“a gold-medal moment in a silver-medal evening.” — The Seattle Times

"Perhaps the most delightful work on the second half was the next-to-last one, a setting of bibulous words from a Horace Ode by Joan Szymko commissioned by the Northwest Chamber Choir of Seattle. Rich choral textures were interrupted and enlivened by a sudden rhythmic groove from a tambourine…as the title refrain “Carpe Diem” was chanted and devolved into what sounded like nonsense syllables. Then the final advice: “Seize the day, but be wise (Sapias)!" —