Oculus Non Vidit - 1 Corinthians 2:9
  • Drake
    Posts: 158
    This composition is especially for M. Jackson Osborn, who mentioned on a different thread that he "would gladly hold [his] breath for someone here to write an anthem or motet on this text." This is my attempt. Computer-rendered playback and free PDF are available at http://www.catholicliving.net/oculus-non-vidit/

    I must say that it is very difficult to write music concerning that which the ear hath not heard.

    Just a couple of things to note. I have emphasized word painting with this setting over complexity, so there is a fair amount of repetition (though varied), and the piece has its share of I, IV, and V chords. (I came up with a theme I liked and stuck with it.) Also there is an intentional direct fifth at measure 11, where the Alto drops past the Tenor's previous note. I was going for a low sound here on audivit with the Bass, Tenor, and Alto forming the D-flat major chord.

    Feedback is welcome, and I hope the piece may be of use.
  • I am moved to tears and near speechless.
    This stands beside P's Sicut Cervus.
    It is a stepping stone from now to forever..

    If Bach wasn't afraid of directs or parallels here and there why should we be.
    It's all in the artistry.

    I would really like to give the score of this to our choirmaster at Walsingham.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Drake
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,686
    Drake, this is incredibly moving and sensitively faithful to the text. I am in awe of its beauty and, like Jackson, am moved to tears. It is a two-minute foretaste of heaven.
  • sdtalley3sdtalley3
    Posts: 212
    As always Drake your work is very sublime, I especially appreciate how predictably unpredictable the voices work together, and by that I mean: the melodic lines are easily followable, but then you create certain leaps to accommodate the entrance of another voice. It has a nice modern spin that works for your style.
    Thanked by 1Drake
  • Drake
    Posts: 158
    I couldn't write back to the comments sooner because I had to work, but thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am speechless because of the wonderful things you have said. I really do not know how to respond.

    MJO, it was late yesterday when I posted the score, and I realized I put an 'e' on the end of Osborn, so that is now fixed. Of course you may give the score to whomever you wish. I am honored that you would share it with your choirmaster.
  • I forgot to mention that it also seems to have spiritual affinity with Parsons's Ave Maria.
    Thanked by 3Drake CHGiffen tomjaw
  • Drake
    Posts: 158
    May God be glorified in the works He performs through His unworthy creatures! I’ve been paid about as high a compliment for this piece as I think a composer of sacred music can receive—to have my work compared with that of Palestrina (Sicut Cervus no less) and likened to a foretaste of heaven. And by real musicians, while I am just an amateur. I am truly at a loss for words. I cannot take credit for the gifts God has given me, so all I can say is glory be to God!
  • ...real musicians, while I am just an amateur.
    Ha! Some 'real musicians' should hope be such 'amateurs'.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,146
    with Parsons's Ave Maria.

    One of the finest pieces of music ever written. Which reminds me we need to sing this sometime within the next couple of months.
  • Drake
    Posts: 158
    I found an error in the Latin text of the motet, which was also present in the source I used. The word iis in the previous edition should be his. I have updated the PDF and have also just uploaded it to CPDL.
  • liampmcdonough
    Posts: 120
    Hey Drake, I was looking back over your piece recently. It is, indeed, wonderful. I had a question about the final cadence. Is there a reason you end on a 2nd inversion chord? To my ear, it sounds a little unstable; I would expect the bass to drop back down to the A-flat.
    Thanked by 1Drake
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 225
    Utterly gorgeous!!!! Thank you for this wonderful gift, Mr. real musician! No one but a real musician could have done this, with a heart for the highest things that music can achieve, that is, the lifting of the soul to God.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Drake
  • Drake
    Posts: 158
    @liampmcdonough, thank you for you kind words. I think I ended that way because I wanted the final cadence to "squeeze together" or move inwardly. At the same time, I wanted the entire chord present, and I didn't want the bass crossing over the tenor. The inversion sounded good to my ear but also perhaps a little different from what the ear would expect (drawing on the text). I agree it is unusual for the bass not to end on the tonic.

    @m_r_taylor, that is really kind of you. Thank you!
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Skladach
    Posts: 18
    This motet strikes me immediately as music for the liturgy. Fine work! Hindemith's "La Biche" ("The Doe", French text by Rainer Maria Rilke), an unaccompanied SATB work, similarly ends on a 2nd-inversion chord, suggesting lightness and motionlessness yet suspense. The effect works quite well in a choral depiction of "what the ear hath not heard" in eternity.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,686
    With the bottom 3 notes forming a 2nd inversion triad, there is a sonority that actually can be quite pleasant and often yields an audible resultant root (tonic, fundamental) note. This is the case with the syllable "-ling" (m.15) in my "Bring us, O Lord God" and can be seen/heard at this thread. I can hear the same effect (a resultant low A-flat) with "Oculus Non Vidit".

    While the tenor could have moved down to E-flat (instead of up to A-flat) and the bass could have moved down to A-flat (instead of up to E-flat), thus achieving a cadence with all notes of the chord present, I really cannot fault the choice that was made, especially in light of the comment as to why it was done that way.
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 225
    Gorecki hangs out for ages (and ends) on that 2nd inversion on Totus Tuus.

    With the right singers and context a 2nd inversion A flat chord an octave even further down can do that same root-reinforcement in quite a wonderful way.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Drake
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,358
    A second inversion tonic chord can seem like...eternity. (Unless and until a cadenza follows it.)

    It can make sense. Just like leaving out the third can make sense for vocal works designed to be performed in a resonant acoustic - let the ear and space do their magic.
    Thanked by 2Drake CHGiffen