Palestrina’s setting of the Offertory at Mass on the Second Sunday of Advent takes its text from an altered version of verse 7 of Psalm 23 in the Vulgate and was published in Rome in 1593 in the Offertoria totius anni secundum Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae consuetudinem by Francis Coates. It’s through composed – Palestrina made no use of the chant preferring, as with all these offertoria, to use a melody of his own devising. It’s a lovely piece of work that opens with a calm, composed, almost stately, plea to God to turn to us. This being dealt with Palestrina quickens the pace with a set of cascading running semiquavers at the close of the first line ‘and quicken us’. For ‘et plebs tua laetabitur in te’ (and thy people shall rejoice in thee) he employs dotted figures and strong forthright rhythms to convey the sense of rejoicing but this soon changes to slow moving penitential homophony rather similar to that found in Canite Tuba at ‘Ostende nobis Domine misericordiam tuam’ (Show us thy mercy, O Lord). Palestrina ends the motet strongly at ‘et salutare tuum da nobis’ (and grant us thy salvation) with a upbeat repeat after a pause of a half-bar. Enjoy :-).
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Deus tu conversus
Deus tu conversus vivificabis nos:
Offertory at Mass, Second Sunday of Advent
Turn unto us, O God, and quicken us:
Performers: Choir of Trinity College Cambridge conducted by Richard Marlow