Saturday, December 6, 2014
A setting in Latin of the prose sequence which starts Rorate caeli desuper, normally sung to plainchant during Advent. Written for Alistair Dixon and Chapelle du Roi. My setting is based around a plainchant-like melody which is heard initially in the sopranos and then in canon with the tenors. Throughout the piece the words Rorate caeli desuper keep re-appearing with this melody as a sort of punctuation dividing the Latin text into verses. In its final incarnation the Rorate caeli melody is used in all four voices with multiple canons or quasi-canons. Each of the verses in between is handled differently, using different combinations of voices, often just two voices though sometimes over drones. Just as my melodic material owes something to the plainchant that I sing regularly on Sunday mornings, so the way the voices divide into pairs is inspired by the Renaissance and Early Tudor polyphony of which I am so fond. The piece is written for four voices, though with some division and as the work progresses the textures increase in complexity though I deliberately restrained myself and rarely allowed more than four voices.