It’s wet, it’s windy, and spring feels a long way away today, so we thought we’d brighten your day with another preview from Lucrezia Borgia’s Daughter, which will be available one month today. This motet is probably the most radical on the disc. It’s a setting of the Mass Gradual for Easter Sunday. Imagine you are standing in the centre of Ferrara, and suddenly all the bells in all the churches start ringing at once – and that is the sound that this motet summons. It looks completely bonkers on paper – what? diminished octaves? tritones? Surely some mistake! But then the dissonance dissolves, and the bells are pealing in harmony once again. Bells were banned in Holy Week, and Alleluias disappear from the liturgy throughout Lent. This motet marks the joyful return of both of them on Easter morning.
As impossible as the motet looks, it must have made an impression. It appears in a seventeenth-century manuscript from a Bohemian monastery, with a Christmas text added over the top of the Easter text. The monks must have loved it so much they wanted to sing it not just once, but twice a year.
So, a bit of advance rejoicing – in the depths of winter, spring and Easter are something to look forward to!