Hei mihi, Domine
must rank as one of the most powerful penitential motet of the period. Scored for SSATTB it was eventually published alongside Requiem Masses. In Hei mihi, Domine
the imitation at the opening is architectural, though a chromaticism in the manuscript has led to the editorial addition of two further accidentals which greatly intensify the prevailing mood of desolation. Later on Guerrero allows himself a very brief moment of madrigalian word-painting, at ‘Ubi fugiam?’ (‘Where should I flee?’), before the music culminates, as in Usquequo
, in simple block chords, here to underline the words ‘Miserere mei’ (‘Have mercy on me’).
from notes by Peter Phillips © 2005