Poliziano (Angelo Ambrogini) (1454-1494) (L)
My setting of O Virgo Prudentissima is based on a tiny fragment from the Eton Choir Book by Robert Wylkinson. We hear the melodic fragments, but in a cloud of closed-mouth sounds from some of the singers. Gradually the material blossoms into more fully fledged phrases. The humming sounds are still used at various points as a textural accompaniment to the more melodic material.
Passages of chorale-like homophony alternate with more flexible polyphony, in an attempt to evoke ancient musical memories. The humming becomes a feature in the middle of the piece, when sopranos and altos create a heterophonic haze, under which the tenors and basses are more emphatic.
High, hummed chords float down towards a recapitulation of the opening materials, some more soprano heterophony and a final, joyous Alleluia!
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the composer.