The Two Motets of 1981 were composed for the Gregg Smith Singers, and are conceived of very similar material. Unusually for choral music, the Latin texts are poetic rather than biblical, and contain no sacred elements at all. Mosella
is a fragment of a longer work by the fourth-century poet Ausonius—a celebrated evocation of the scenery experienced along the course of the river Moselle—and in this stanza we are treated to the soothing sight of water reflecting the light of dusk. For the second poem, Te vigilans oculis
by Petronius, the scene shifts to an anguished poet lying sleepless in bed, longing for his lover. The contrasts in thematic material from the first motet are magnified by their very similarity, as Hawley shifts to a darker mode in reflection of the text. Both motets end with prolonged and unresolved suspensions to sharply differing effect: unending beauty in the first instance, and ceaseless torment in the second.
from notes by Gabriel Crouch © 2011