Wednesday, September 12, 2018

New Collection of English Motets Adapted from Renaissance Masters

Heath Morber, Director of Music at St. John’s Catholic Chapel in Champaign, IL, has released his third collection (his previous two collections, Bread from Heaven and English Motets for the Church Year, have been reviewed here and here) in his English Motets series: Everlasting Joy in You: Two- and Three-voice motets of Orlando di Lasso adapted into English. All of the pieces, set originally in Latin, have been fitted with singable English translations for use in vernacular Masses.

Few Renaissance composers wrote extensively for smaller voice ensembles, but Lassus was a master of the duet. These bicinia have been studied in counterpoint classes for generations. His three-voice collection, however, is much lesser-known, but these trios are written skillfully and remain accessible to the average chorister.

All of the bicinia come in two transpositions, for SA-TB and for AT voicings. For the trios, Lassus mostly uses the unique voicing of STB, though there are a few settings that call for three equal voices.

The variety of texts ranges from complete psalm settings (Laetatus Sum) to New Testament excerpts (Qui Vult Venire) to the traditional post-meal blessing (Agimus Tibi Gratias).

This collection would be a wonderful addition to any music library in parishes where the vernacular is used but the beauty of polyphony is desired.

The book can be purchased here (samples can be found there, also).

Two selections from the book can be heard and seen below:

And some photos:

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