Ego dormio a 2 voci e B.c.
The Old Testament Song of Songs (Song of Solomon), a collection of love-lyrics often written in the female voice, was a frequently mined source for motet texts during the Renaissance. In the Christian church such texts were interpreted metaphorically, sometimes as texts in praise of the Virgin Mary, sometimes, as in this case, as texts representing the Church (the woman) welcoming her beloved (Christ). Although the motet is scored for soprano and bass, Monteverdi does not treat the text as a dialogue, but uses both voices together to represent the female and male speakers. The motet was the first by Monteverdi to be published in a Roman anthology – Francesco Sammaruco’s Sacri affetti
(Sacred Affections), published by Luca Antonio Soldi in Rome in 1625. Interestingly, there is no hint of the melodious triple-time refrains found in the music of northern Italian anthologies. Instead, the motet is set throughout in an expressive (‘affective’) recitative-like style.
from notes by John Whenham © 2004