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Track(s) taken from CDH55335

O rex gloriae

composer
4vv; 1563; Motecta festorum totius anni; 1569; Liber primus motettorum
author of text
Magnificat Antiphon at Second Vespers on the Feast of the Ascension

Westminster Cathedral Choir, James O'Donnell (conductor)
Recording details: June 1988
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: May 1989
Total duration: 3 minutes 33 seconds

Cover artwork: Photograph of Westminster Cathedral by Malcolm Crowthers
 

O rex gloriae is a motet for Ascension and was published initially in the now lost 1563 book Motecta festorum totius anni … but subsequently reprinted elsewhere. The joyful element of the Ascension is what gives this motet its character: the phrase ‘qui triumphator hodie super omnes caelos’, for example, is given pointed emphasis by being resonantly set in homophony after the consistently contrapuntal texture of the music up to that point. The phrase is nevertheless then developed contrapuntally and dominates the central part of the motet. This is dramatically followed by the other face of the Ascension—Christ’s parting from mankind—in the semitonally inflected phrase at ‘ne derelinquas nos orphanos’ which is subsequently echoed then varied, inverted, and expanded before a return to the triumphant mood at the final ‘Alleluia’.

from notes by Ivan Moody 1989

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