Like many motets composed around 1500, this one is cleverer than it sounds. Jean Mouton made it by taking a plainchant melody and working it in canon: two voices sing the tune, but starting at different times and on different notes. He then added four more parts, embedding the canon in sumptuously rich polyphony. The words come from the evening service of Compline: ‘Save us, Lord, whilst awake, guard us whilst sleeping’.
from notes by John Milsom © 2013