Hyperion Records

Descendi in hortum meum
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Descendi in hortum meum has a mood suitable to its highly-perfumed text from the Song of Songs. So artless does this masterpiece sound that it is hard to believe that rigid mathematical writing underlies it; but indeed the second alto (which leads), second soprano and first tenor parts are in canon, this time at the fifth and octave. The canon is maintained even in the triple-time section towards the end where Rore the madrigalist briefly joins forces with his genius for sacred composition to create this most beautiful, most wistful of all polyphonic passages: ‘Return, return, O Shulamite, return that we may look upon you.’

from notes by Peter Phillips © 1994

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