Hyperion Records

Surge propera amica mea
1570; 6vv
author of text
Song of Songs 2: 10-13

'Guerrero: Missa Surge propera' (CDGIM040)
Guerrero: Missa Surge propera
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Surge propera amica mea
Surge propera is a substantial motet by virtue of having two halves. Many composers of the period, including Palestrina, liked to work with this format because it gave them the opportunity for the symmetrical restatement of material. in Surge propera the use of the two halves is strictly mathematical. This elaborate motet is unusual in having a long-note, so-called cantus firmus, chant part. This is given to the second sopranos, who sing an ostinato made up of the first five notes of the chant melody associated with the words ‘Veni, sponsa Christi’ (‘Come, bride of Christ’); and they also very deliberately sing these words against the voluptuous text of the other parts, thus sanctifying the sensuousness of the love poetry of the Song of Songs. Guerrero set this love poetry in the other parts with suitably diaphanous music, while tempering it with the chant which is quite severely disposed according to the kind of abstract pattern which might have been found in music of a hundred years earlier. At the beginning of the motet the chant motif starts on a C, and in five statements descends by step until it reaches F. In the second half it starts on F and rises back up to C, meaning that the piece ends with the part on its highest notes. Such a complicated marriage of texts and musical styles was not usual by the 1570s, when Surge propera was published, and it poses some exceptional interpretative challenges.

from notes by Peter Phillips © 2005

Track-specific metadata
Details for CDA66168 track 1
Recording date
3 July 1985
Recording venue
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Treasures of the Spanish Renaissance (CDA66168)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: December 1986
    Deletion date: May 2010
    Superseded by CDH55430
  2. Treasures of the Spanish Renaissance (CDH55430)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: 2 February 2015
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label) 2 February 2015 Release
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