Many of Morales’s motets employ a structural device such as cantus firmus, canon or ostinato. One such is the state motet Gaude et laetare, Ferrariensis civitas, performed in Ferrara Cathedral on Sunday 9 March 1539 to celebrate the award of a cardinal’s hat to Ippolito II d’Este, younger brother of the then Duke of Ferrara, Ercole II. Here the first alto part sings the same text throughout: ‘I shall magnify your name for ever’, which forms the last line of the main motet text. As is common for Morales, the ostinato is presented at two pitches a fifth apart, alternating between C and G in the original notation; it appears five times in the first half of the piece and six in the second, with a (perhaps inaudible) intensifying effect of reducing the number of bars’ rest between statements such that one ostinato takes sixteen bars in the first half and fifteen in the second.
from notes by Stephen Rice © 2008