collection of short motets would not have come into being without the
indefatigable Maureen O’Riordan of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA) who
operates the web sites “Louis and Zélie Martin” (www.louisandzeliemartin.org)
and “Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: A Gateway” (www.thereseoflisieux.org).
My principal reason for writing these pieces is to add to
the repertoire of music that reflects the spirituality of St Thérèse and
her parents, Bl. Louis Martin and Bl. Azélie-Marie Martin, whose
cause for canonisation is being promoted at the time of writing. Not
only are these pieces suitable for any celebration relating to the Martin
family but also I hope that they may be useful for other liturgical celebrations
pieces are all written for four unaccompanied voices (SATB) and
should not be beyond the ability of the average amateur parish choir.
Originally written in 2009 for a CD to accompany the tour of the Relics of
St Thérèse around England, “It is so sweet to serve God in the dark
night and in the midst of trial. After all we have but this life in which
to live by faith”
(St Thérèse) is suitable as a post-Communion meditational piece or
perhaps during an Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Musically,
this is a reworking of a setting of Ave Maria that I wrote in 1997.
I originally thought of “God gave me a mother and a father more
worthy of heaven than of earth” as a Processional piece or an
Introit. The repeated musical figure on the word
“Deus” gives the piece a sense of movement. These words were written
by St Thérèse.
One of the deepest themes of the lives of both Bl. Louis and Zélie
Martin was their almost violent orientation to eternity. On a trip
abroad Louis wrote that he had “already had enough of the
beauty that surrounds him and dreams of Heaven and infinity.” He
then quoted Thomas à Kempis “Vanity of vanities, and all is
vanity, except loving God and serving Him alone!” In
writing this motet, I wanted to show the contrast between a futile
and vain earthly existence and the sweetness and satisfaction
found in “loving God and serving Him alone.” This might be used
as an Offertory or Communion motet. It is especially suitable
for a Mass with a penitential feel or perhaps during the seasons of
Advent and Lent. Equally, it could serve a piece during
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
When Céline Martin, the last of the Martin daughters outside the
monastery, told her father that she would become a nun after his
death, he said “Come, let’s go together to the Blessed
Sacrament to thank him for the honour he does me in
choosing his spouses in my home. If I possessed anything
better, I would hasten to offer it to him.” These words are
suitable as a meditation during Benediction or other Exposition of
the Blessed Sacrament, as a reflection on how we can all give thanks
to Almighty God for the many blessings of this life.
Occasional Motets for unaccompanied SATB costs
£4.99 per copy
prices exclude postage. Quantity discounts apply.