Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Guttur tuum sicut vinum optimum

Thy throat is like the finest wine,
worthy for my beloved to drink
and for his lips and teeth to savour.
I to my love and he doth turn to me.

The last few of the twenty-nine motets based upon the Song of Songs such as Guttur tuum sicut vinum optimum (Thy throat is like the finest wine), have texts which are unabashedly erotic. This sensual and sexual aspect of the text was why the Church authorities insisted that they be set and sung only in Latin and not in Italian. I find myself suspecting that this attempt to stifle the love song aspect of the Song of Songs at least in part accounts for why Palestrina’s settings sold like hotcakes. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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