The second of two five-part motets by De Rore that take their text from the writings of St. Paul Fratres: Scitote (Brothers: Know this) sets 1 Corinthians 11: 23-24 in which Paul recounts how during the Last Supper Jesus instituted Holy Communion by taking bread, blessing it, and distributing it. The motet is a bit problematic because the words of consecration, the central words of the Mass are always spoken by the priest – never sung by choir, or the congregation which leads me to believe that the motet was intended for private devotional performance in private chapel. To my mind it’s one of the finest pieces of sung music of the entire century whether it’s the vigorous opening or the way in which de Rore separates Jesus’ words using block chords or the way in which he rounds off the motet at hoc facite in meam commemorationem (do this in remembrance of me) there is always something fresh and interesting to listen to while simultaneously being a meditation on the Mass’ central rite. It’s a remarkable musical achievement. Enjoy :-).
Cipriano de Rore (c1515-1565): Fratres: Scitote
Fratres: Scitote, quoniam Dominum Jesus,
1 Corinthians 11: 23-24
Brothers: Know this, that the Lord Jesus,
- The Brabant Ensemble conducted by Stephen Rice.