Sunday night Morales

May 2, 2010

This evening I have, for some reason, been thinking of the desolate beauty of Cristóbal de Morales’ motet Parce mihi Domine.  The music can be found on YouTube, but almost always in a performance from the Hilliard Ensemble, with Jan Garbarek improvising in the background.  I like that well enough [listen], but it’s not the real thing.  This is the real thing; I’d have chosen different images, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Spare me, O Lord, for my days are nothing.
What is man, that thou dost make so much of him, and that thou dost set thy mind upon him,
dost visit him every morning, and test him every moment?
How long wilt thou not look away from me, nor let me alone till I swallow my spittle?
If I sin, what do I do to thee, thou watcher of men? Why hast thou made me thy mark? Why have I become a burden to thee?
Why dost thou not pardon my transgression and take away my iniquity?
For now I shall lie in the earth; thou wilt seek me, but I shall not be.

— Job 7:16-21

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