This duet, from Calvi’s Second Collection of Sacred Songs (Seconda raccolta de’ sacri canti
, 1624), takes the Old Testament image of a land flowing with milk and honey and transfers it to a Christian context in which water and wine, honey and milk are freely given by the Lord. Monteverdi sets the text in four sections. The first two and the last are in triple time, culminating in the slower refrain ‘mel et lac’ (honey and milk), laced with a bitter-sweet harmony for the first statement of the word ‘lac’. The third section, the focal point of the motet, is set in an expressive recitative-like style.
from notes by John Whenham © 2004