In Fratres, ego enim accepi
, Monte brings together two texts from different sources to create a somewhat unusual amalgam: a part-Biblical and part-prayer motet. The first section sets words of St Paul to the church in Corinth, which echo the Words of Institution of Communion from the three synoptic Gospels; the second, a fourteenth-century antiphon, focuses attention on the transubstantiated bread itself and thus indicates the suitability of the piece specifically for the feast of Corpus Christi. The two halves of the motet are quite strongly differentiated, with the Biblical story—even its most sacred words—being treated as a pacy narrative, whereas the antiphon text ‘O how sweet, Lord, is your spirit!’ is significantly calmer and more mellifluous. The effect is of the fourteenth-century words, still by no means antique in Monte’s day, acting as a commentary or gloss on the scripture. Notable text expression in the first part includes the use of rapid notes for the word ‘fregit’ (‘broke’), perhaps symbolizing the action of bread becoming crumbs, but referring also to the music-theoretical concept of small notes as ‘broken’ or (in early modern English parlance) ‘cracked’.
from notes by Stephen Rice © 2008