For unaccompanied single or double choir
This motet was the product of a number of influences. The first was the multi-choir music of 16th Century composers Thomas Tallis and Alessandro Striggio. The second major influence was the motet by Sir John Tavener ‘Hymn to the Mother of God’, which is written for two choirs singing in precise canon, a couple of beats apart. The final ingredient in the soup of ideas was the number of rounds that I was using with children in school. I wondered whether a piece composed as a choral round, rather than just the single vocal line rounds I was using in school, would have a similar effect to the multi-choir compositions.
The initial idea is presented simply by the whole choir in a standard SATB setting of the words. It is then repeated by two SATB groups, still singing the same music, but now a couple of beats apart. The text asks God to envelope us – this simple effect of the ‘choral round’ allows the music to do this as well.
The score allows for the piece to be sung as a single choir (i.e. not as a round) for smaller choirs.