Here is a striking approach to the challenge of composing a motet. The texts are very similar in technique, vocabulary and tone, but the musical settings of the poems, while homogeneous in style, go their own way when sung together and fight for mastery. The level of dissonance is high (the last musical phrase unwinds a string of major seconds between the Triplum and the Quadruplum). This motet exploits a technique which is explored (in a much more spacious way) in De la virge Katerine
: a section where all the voices phrase and rest together is followed by one where the voices overlap and tangle. Like many motet texts, these three set us wondering about their literary tone. As I read it, the tone of these poems—as of so much pastoral and semi-pastoral poetry in the motet—is wistful (certainly not giving way to boistrous merriment) and even a touch melancholic.
from notes by Christopher Page ©