Mixed Chorus Unaccompanied
Text: Liturgical (Latin)
Duration: ca. 3.5 minutes
Publisher: C. F. Peters Corporation, Edition Peters 67489
O Sacrum Convivium was first performed on November 11, 1989 in St. Paul’s Chapel at Columbia University in New York, by the New Calliope Singers under the direction of Peter Schubert. The work is dedicated to the Reverend Chip Gilman, former curate at All Saints Church in New York City.
Perhaps my greatest inspiration for writing this motet came from singing Thomas Tallis’ wonderful setting of the same text, with its daring and poignant cross relations and harmonic clashes. The work begins quietly, gradually working its way into an imitative section, starting in the alto part with the words “Recolitur memoria passionis eius” (“The memory of his passion is recalled”). The counterpoint eventually breaks down, decreasing from four parts to two, culminating in a passage in octaves marked fortissimo. The final Alleluia begins softly and reintroduces melodic material that was used in the first point of imitation cited above. Once more, the counterpoint gradually disintegrates, dissolving into a constantly shifting eight-part cluster which gradually fades, leaving only the tenors and basses softly sustaining the notes F and C, a reference to the basic harmonic center of the opening of the motet.