The prayer for forgiveness Ne reminiscaris, Domine seems extremely restrained. Even this quiet plea for mercy is expressed in an intense way by Gombert, however. The phrase ‘Parce, Domine’ (‘Spare, Lord’), at the centre of the prayer, begins with an extremely static entry sung by sopranos and altos over a pedal note, and as the other voices enter with this melody the composer introduces large numbers of dissonant passing notes, on the beat, creating friction between the static and moving parts. The ending of the motet is resigned, as if to say that God may or may not forgive the sins in question, but that human action can no longer affect the situation.
from notes by Stephen Rice © 2007