Lobo’s Ave Maria
is a masterpiece, being based on a complex canon 8 in 4 at the upper fifth. Although the eight voices are divided into two choirs and the bottom part of each choir sings the same music, the other three voices are rearranged: the top part of the choir which begins becomes the third part in the choir which responds, the second part of choir I becomes the top part of choir II, and the third part of choir I becomes the second part of choir II. Yet despite the mathematical intricacies the resulting music seems artlessly serene, as befits the text. It culminates in the most perfect ‘Amen’, where the beauty inherent in these canons is particularly telling.
from notes by Peter Phillips © 1997