The most striking feature of Ad te levavi
is the wide leap assigned to the highest voice to illustrate its opening phrase, ‘I lift up’; this octave leap is not in fact very easy to work with contrapuntally, so Monte allows the other voices to leap through smaller intervals. The piece is highly dramatic throughout, however: the setting of ‘Miserere nostri, Domine’ (‘Have mercy on us, O Lord’) features an unusual variety of chords, as if the suppliant soul were twisting and turning in an effort to attract the attention of the Creator; later, God is invited to do good to those of pure and upright hearts, with diatonic chords representing their orthodoxy. The motet as a whole is pungent and memorable in its musical language.
from notes by Stephen Rice © 2008