Clemens set the text Erravi sicut ovis
(‘I have wandered like a sheep’) twice, once for four voices and once for five. The five-voice setting doubles the alto register, with an ostinato repeating the Prodigal Son’s plea ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your presence: now I am not worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your servants’. The mood in the first section is supplicatory rather than anguished, with increased intensity in the final third of the piece, at ‘quoniam speravi in te’ (‘for I have trusted in you’), where the lower three voices become more rhythmical and the tessitura rises as the prayer requests to be surrounded with joyfulness (‘circumda me laetitia’).
from notes by Stephen Rice © 2010