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Hyperion Records

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Tempi Madonna by Raphael (1483-1520)
© Photo Scala, Florence
Track(s) taken from CDGIM040
Recording details: Unknown
Temple Church, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Steve C Smith & Peter Phillips
Engineered by Neil Hutchinson
Release date: January 2006
Total duration: 7 minutes 21 seconds

Surge propera amica mea
composer
1570; 6vv
author of text
Song of Songs 2: 10-13

Other recordings available for download
Westminster Cathedral Choir, David Hill (conductor)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Surge propera is a substantial motet by virtue of having two halves. Many composers of the period, including Palestrina, liked to work with this format because it gave them the opportunity for the symmetrical restatement of material. in Surge propera the use of the two halves is strictly mathematical. This elaborate motet is unusual in having a long-note, so-called cantus firmus, chant part. This is given to the second sopranos, who sing an ostinato made up of the first five notes of the chant melody associated with the words ‘Veni, sponsa Christi’ (‘Come, bride of Christ’); and they also very deliberately sing these words against the voluptuous text of the other parts, thus sanctifying the sensuousness of the love poetry of the Song of Songs. Guerrero set this love poetry in the other parts with suitably diaphanous music, while tempering it with the chant which is quite severely disposed according to the kind of abstract pattern which might have been found in music of a hundred years earlier. At the beginning of the motet the chant motif starts on a C, and in five statements descends by step until it reaches F. In the second half it starts on F and rises back up to C, meaning that the piece ends with the part on its highest notes. Such a complicated marriage of texts and musical styles was not usual by the 1570s, when Surge propera was published, and it poses some exceptional interpretative challenges.

from notes by Peter Phillips © 2005


Other albums featuring this work
'Treasures of the Spanish Renaissance' (CDA66168)
Treasures of the Spanish Renaissance
MP3 £6.99FLAC £6.99ALAC £6.99 CDA66168  To be superseded by CDH55430  

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