Christus factus est appeared in 1884—the same year as the Te Deum for chorus, four soloists, organ and orchestra. Harmonically this is more exploratory than the Mass in E minor, with some extraordinary modulations following the words ‘mortem autem crucis’ (‘even the death of the cross’)—a test of any choir’s security of pitch. More than any of Bruckner’s great motets, Christus factus est follows an almost symphonic path of motivic and harmonic development—a striking parallel to Christ’s journey of ‘obedience unto death’. All suggestion of triumphalism is avoided in the final reference to the ‘name which is above every name’.
from notes by Stephen Johnson © 2007