Friday, 15 April 2005

Respice, Domine

In the summer, London Concord Singers will be singing Mass at Strasbourg Cathedral as part of our summer trip. The main mass setting is going to be Krystof Harant's lovely Missa Super Martyr Dolorosi, one of the Czech composer's few surviving pieces - he was killed in 1621 after the Battle of the White Mountain, an anti-Catholic uprising.


I have been asked to write the Introit for the choir to sing. Last year the choir sang my motet Deus in adjutorium as the introit for mass at Barcelona Cathedral. Both this and the new motet, Respice Domine, will ultimately find a place in my Tempus per Annum project where I am writing motets based on the texts of all the introits for the Sundays (and major feasts) of the Church's year. Theoretically I'm currently working my way through Lent, but am happy to take requests out of sequence

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Respice, Domine is a rather fraught text:-


Have regard, O Lord, to Thy covenant, and forsake not to the end the souls of Thy poor: arise, O Lord, and judge Thy cause, and forget not the voices of them that seek Thee. -- (Ps. 73. 1). O God, why hast Thou cast us off unto the end: why is Thy wrath enkindled against the sheep of Thy pasture?


And the piece is proving to be one of those which won't stay in a particular key, and sometimes wanders into two keys simultaneously. This all proves rather tricky to notate as the most 'correct' key structure is not necessarily the easiest for singers to sing from. So for the moment I've given up worrying and everything is in C major with lots and lots of accidentals.

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