Ne timeas, Maria
is a paraphrase of the Annunciation story from St Luke’s Gospel. At the beginning of both sections of this motet, Monte combines a long-note figure with a much more active melody, giving the music a sense of the certainty that the angelic visitor imparted, with the joy that Mary expresses as she learns of her divine purpose. The two melodies can thus be seen as bringing together the heavenly with the earthly. Later, Mary asks ‘How can this be, Angel of God, since I have not known a man?’ (‘Quomodo fiet istud, Angele Dei, quia virum in concipiendo non pertuli?’); the voices come together for a rare moment of homophony, as Mary addresses the angel directly, and Monte adds a harmonic twist to underline the significance of the dislocation between the humanly possible and the agency of God.
from notes by Stephen Rice © 2008