Hyperion Records

O pulcherrima mulierum / Girum caeli circuivi
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The idea that O pulcherrima mulierum/Girum coeli circuivi might be by Busnois was first suggested more than half a century ago by Laurence Feininger. Support for Feininger’s ascription may be seen in its presence in what appears to be a deliberately constructed ‘nest’ of pieces by Busnois in the source that transmits it, and Sean Gallagher recently made a powerful case for Busnois’ authorship on notational, structural and motivic grounds. Like so many motet texts of this period, the words of this motet, drawn and adapted from The Song of Songs and Ecclesiasticus, were clearly chosen for their syncretic value in linking the messages of the Old and New Testaments. In this case they seem to point, as Leofranc Holford-Strevens has suggested to me, both to the Second Coming and, as so often, to Christ as the bridegroom of The Song of Songs. The luxuriance of the motet embraces something of the beguiling quality which so often imbues Song of Songs settings: its rich texture is formed from long and elegantly-shaped melodic lines that burst out periodically into more florid effusions.

from notes by Andrew Kirkman © 2000

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