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Videte miraculum

composer
Christ Church MSS 979-83
author of text
Responsory at First Vespers, Feast of the Purification (Candlemas)

 
Videte miraculum is the Responsory (or Respond) at First Vespers of the Purification, known in England as Candlemas. The chant on which Tallis bases his polyphony comprises several sections, the full choir alternating with soloist or solo group. Tallis leaves the solo portions as unadorned chant, implanting the choral sections of chant in a six-voice polyphonic texture. This type of Responsory is known as a ‘choral respond’; in a ‘solo respond’, only the solo portions of chant are set. The advantage of the choral respond, which developed from the solo respond in the early sixteenth century, is the dynamic musical structure imposed by the polyphonic setting of the repeating parts of the chant: the form can be summarized, omitting the brief chant intonation, as A-B-C-d-B-C-e-C (solo chant verses in lower case). In Videte miraculum this means the repetition of ‘Stans onerata’ and ‘Et matrem se laetam’ after the first solo chant verse, then, after the second verse, one final repetition of ‘Et matrem’. Tallis exploits this pattern by starting ‘Et matrem’ with a fleeting glimpse of what would now be called the relative major; this unexpected and touching moment gains in effect with each repetition. Most memorable, however, despite being heard only once, is the opening point of imitation on ‘miraculum’—a dissonance, repeated at regular intervals by each entering voice to hypnotic effect.

from notes by Robert Quinney © 2008

Recordings

Christmas Music from Medieval and Renaissance Europe
CDA66263
Mary and Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey
CDA67704
Tallis: Missa Puer natus est nobis & other sacred music
Studio Master: CDA68026Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Tallis: The Complete Works, Vol. 4
SIGCD010Download only

Details

Track 3 on CDA67704 [8'53]
Track 10 on CDA68026 [9'16]
Track 8 on CDA66263 [9'48]
Track 4 on SIGCD010 [9'11] Download only

Track-specific metadata for CDA66263 track 8

Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-87-26308
Duration
9'48
Recording date
9 May 1987
Recording venue
All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Christmas Music from Medieval and Renaissance Europe (CDA66263)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: December 1987
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