Words of Our Lady of Guadelupe (E), Sancta Maria, virginum piissima (L)
Choral level of difficulty: 3 (5 greatest)
This beautiful, heartfelt motet was written for the ordination of a friend of MacMillan’s in Oxford in 2011. Setting words of Our Lady of Guadalupe the work seeks to reassure the new ordinand of protection by his ‘mother’. Underpinning the whole motet in this macaronic setting is long note chanting by the basses singing a 14th century antiphon from the Dominican Gradual for Vespers on the octave day of the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. One senses the affection in this music written as a gift for this special occasion. There is much here with which we are already familiar in other MacMillan choral pieces but that does not mean that the outcome is predictable. Far from it. It flows with a sense of natural progression, of happiness in a shared depth of faith and a memorable ending.
A straightforward piece which many choirs will easily master and would sit, perhaps with contrasting MacMillan pieces, in a concert programme or as an anthem in a liturgical setting.
Repertoire Note by Paul Spicer