October continues treating us with passion and gentleness as befits this time of year.
There are few people that I know (outside of my classical musician neighbors) who might totally geek out with me about this piece of music. But I’m going to share it with you and the tiny little glimmer of hope that it gives me. (And the shiver down my spine that it gives me when I listen to it and a longing to perform it that I can barely understand.)
Spem in Alium by Thomas Tallis, sung here by the Tallis Scholars
It is a motet for 8 five-part choirs.
That is 40 separate voices.
It should be chaos. It isn’t. And that is a extended metaphor that works for me.
The Latin text is from the Book of Judith. (in translation)
I have never put my hope in any other but in you,
O God of Israel
who can show both anger and graciousness,
and who absolves all the sins of suffering man
Lord God, Creator of Heaven and Earth
be mindful of our lowliness.
For me the text is less important that the lesson of the poliphony. We don’t have to speak or sing the same song to make something beautiful together.