Peccavimus cum patribus nostris
is a Prayer-Motet which also bears classification as a Votive Antiphon, specifically a Jesus Antiphon by virtue of the words at the end of the first section. The cadence at the mention of the name of Jesus is heartfelt. The ear is prepared for a plagal cadence (IV–I), but instead the musical canvas is, without warning, illuminated with the colours of the supertonic (II). That the piece is scored for seven voices suggests that it dates from the reign of Queen Mary, and it certainly bears comparison with the other large-scale antiphons written during Mary’s reign by the likes of Tallis, Sheppard, and Mundy. Indeed Peccavimus cum patribus nostris
surpasses even the work of Tye’s contemporaries because of its organic growth and purposeful progression. The two extended sections for four voices, and another for three voices, do more than offer textural contrast: they manipulate the listener (and indeed performer) into adopting Tye’s resolute mindset which dictates that the composition exists solely to prepare—on a vast scale—for the arrival of its climax, where all good things (‘holy love, hatred of sin, and a burning desire for the heavenly kingdom’) ‘grow more and more’. In literal terms this piece is a romantic symphony: romantic because its narrative qualities are manifest, and symphonic because polyphonic lines have rarely sounded together so effectively.
from notes by Jeremy Summerly © 2012