Philippe de Monte (1521-1603) was an extraordinarily prolific composer. Anglophones mostly know of him because of his friendship with William Byrd and the resulting motets dealing with the oppression of Catholics under English rule. But this was only one episode in an extraordinarily productive career he published no less than thirty-four(!) books of madrigals, thirty-eight Mass settings, around 250 motets, and 144 madrigali spirituali. His patrons included the Pinelli banking family in Naples, Philip II of Spain, and the Emperors Maximilian II and Rudolf II in whose combined service he spent thirty-five years as Kapellmeister to the Hapsburg court.
His setting of Ne timeas, Maria takes its text from a paraphrasis of the Annunciation story from Luke. De Monte’s aim was to portray in music the combination of certainty conveyed by the angel and Mary’s joy as she learns of God’s plan for her. He achieved this somewhat contradictory goal by combining a long-note figure and a more active melody at the start of each of the motet’s two section. There’s a moment of homophony with a slight twist in the harmony at "quomodo fiet istud, Angele Dei," before the two diverge again. Enjoy :-)
Philippe de Monte (1521-1603): Ne timeas, Maria
Ne timeas, Maria, invenisti gratiam apud Dominum:
Fear not, Mary, you have found favour with the Lord:
Ecce ancilla Domini: fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.
paraphrase of Luke 1: 30ff
Behold the handmaid of the Lord, let it be according to your word.