Vox Patris Caelestis

I’m listening to William Mundy’s 16th Century motet Vox Patris Caelestis, sung by The Tallis Scholars. Vox Patris is a Tudor work, which may explain its intensely Romanist themes. The motet itself is beautiful and expansive; a joy to listen to, though of course my Protestant sensibilities take issue with a setting of verse about the Assumption and Coronation of the Blessed Virgin. I must say, though, even were I a devout Catholic, I would be shocked by the portrayal of God the Father calling to Mary as a husband to his beloved wife. It’s almost blatantly lustful! A sample: “Et ponam in te thronum meum quia concupivi speciem tuam.” Translated, “And I will bestow upon you my kingdom, for I have long desired your beauty.” Whoa there, whoa; I think someone needs a cold shower!

Textual considerations aside, the motet is sweeping and grand, layered with beautifully intricate polyphony on every octave. Here’s the CD. Give it a try if you’re into amazing early music from the days of the Counter-Reformation, when Rome, through the work of composers like Mundy, Allegri, and Palestrina, rediscovered the beauty of polyphony.