O admirabile commercium
is a five-part motet for the Feast of the Circumcision (which falls on January 1st) and the Octave of the Nativity. It takes its text from the first antiphon at Second Vespers of that Feast. The motet comes from a collection entitled Florilegium sacrarum cantionum
published by Phalèse in Antwerp in 1602. The still and poised music of its opening bars – ‘O wonderful gift’ – sets the tone for the rest of this beautiful and finely balanced motet which makes very good use of a high Cantus part soaring slowly over the more busy music of the other parts in the final section.
from notes by Jon Dixon © 2003