The famous Super flumina Babylonis
is a perfect example of the master’s ability to produce a completely unified and well proportioned whole that has within it a series of clearly defined sections each characterizing and expressing the text, gently propelling the words with musical expression. That he can do this so effectively within a growth that seems quite natural and organic is precisely why our admiration has remained loyal for four hundred years. These are not the desultory lightning flashes of a Gesualdo, nor the startling dramas that dazzle in the sounds of Lassus. Within Palestrina’s calm unfolding there is an enormous confidence and a feeling of strength. A philosopher theologian once remarked to the present writer that Palestrina’s music seemed made by a man without worries.
from notes by Bruno Turner © 1991