Mixed Chorus unaccompanied
Text: From The Song of Solomon (Latin and English)
Duration: ca. 7 minutes
Publisher: C. F. Peters Corporation, Edition Peters 67949
This motet was composed in celebration of my marriage to Susan Marie Orzel, and received its premiere on that happiest of occasions, our wedding on January 16, 1999, performed by the the Choir of All Saints Church under the direction of Dr. Gail Archer.
The work begins with a unison melody for altos and tenors set to the words “Tota pulchra es, amica mea” (“You are all beautiful, my love”). This material is developed in various textures, until a lone solo tenor voice is left, whose final note dovetails with the first major change in the piece, the appearance of the full choir on the same words, this time beginning on a very lushly voiced C-major chord, the initial melody disguised not only by the harmonic shift, but by the octave displacement of one note. This introduces the English text beginning with the words, “Set me as a seal upon thine heart.” The piece continues building in intensity, the climax occurring with a recurrence of the earlier full choir chord, this time a half-step higher, and this time combining the English and Latin texts. The piece gradually winds down, until once again the lone tenor voice is left, singing a slowed-down variant of the initial motive on the words “pulchra es.”
The work is dedicated, with all my love, to Susan.