Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Duo ubera tua

Thy breasts are like two fawns, roes that are twins.
Thy nose is as a tower of ivory.
Thine eyes are like the pools in Hesebon,
which are at the Gate of the Daughter of the Multitude.
Thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon
that looks towards Damascus.
Thy head is like Carmel, and the hair of thy head
is as royal purple braided in strands.

This is the twenty-sixth in the series of twenty-nine motets based upon the Song of Songs that Palestrina first published in 1584. Each motet is carefully contrived to singable by a wide range of groups and it is this, coupled with the beauty and eroticism of the text that accounted for their wild popularity. They took Italy by storm going through no  less than eleven reprints in short order. I’ve always felt that Duo ubera tua is particularly beautiful. Enjoy :-).


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