Peccantem me quotidie
, a penitential motet which first appeared in Motettorum liber secundus
(1572, Venice) makes use of soaring melodic phrases and quite abrupt harmonic and textural contrasts. The text is haunted by the need for repentance and the fear of death: the words ‘timor mortis conturbat me’ (so chillingly reiterated by the fifteenth-century Scottish poet William Dunbar in his Lament for the Makers
) are set in simple block chords, but move symbolically into new harmonic territory. There is an audible darkening, so to speak, with the despairing descending phrases of ‘nulla est redemptio’, but with the startling plea for mercy at ‘Miserere mei, Deus’, the end of the work is bathed in the light of hope.
from notes by Ivan Moody © 1999