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Verbum bonum et suave
author of text
Sequence Hymn on the Feast of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary

'Mouton: Missa Tu es Petrus & other works' (CDA67933)
Mouton: Missa Tu es Petrus & other works
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Verbum bonum et suave
Verbum bonum et suave is one of the longest motets written at this time, and since it is also for eight voices, certainly one of the most elaborate. Mouton’s setting is melodically based on a Sequence, a form of rhymed plainchant, sung between the Alleluia and the Gospel during Mass, whose texts were written from the ninth century onwards and set monophonically more or less from that time onwards. This particular Sequence melody, which dates probably from the eleventh century, had attracted the attention of polyphonic composers from an early stage—there is for instance a version in two-part discant in the thirteenth-century manuscript known as ‘W1’ (Wolfenbüttel, Herzog-August Bibliothek, MS Guelf.628 Helmst.), and a fragmentary setting that is possibly even older was discovered at Netherbury, Dorset, in the 1960s. Mouton’s was the last generation of musicians to have liturgical reason to set most of the Sequence texts, including this one, since with four exceptions the singing of Sequences was abolished by the Council of Trent. The text of Verbum bonum, written for the Feast of the Annunciation (25 March) is set in three pairs of strophes rhyming AAAB/ CCCB. Musically speaking, the polyphony is set in varying antiphonal subgroups, with each strophe articulated with a cadence of some significance: the break between prima and secunda pars in fact occurs halfway through the second pair of strophes, which disrupts the rhyme scheme a little but allows for a climax on the words ‘laudant puerperium’ (‘honour the childbirth’) which complete the prima pars. At the very end of the piece, the elaborate Amen is a fitting conclusion to this monumental structure.

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2012

Track-specific metadata
Details for CDA67933 track 4
Recording date
18 August 2011
Recording venue
The Church of St Michael and All Angels, Summertown, Oxford, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Antony Pitts
Recording engineer
Justin Lowe
Hyperion usage
  1. Mouton: Missa Tu es Petrus & other works (CDA67933)
    Disc 1 Track 4
    Release date: June 2012
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