Adiuro vos, filiae Ierusalem

In early 2019 I recorded a performance of Adiuro vos, filiae Ierusalem, a motet for soprano and basso continuo, by Giovanni Paolo Cima (c.1570–1622). The performers on this recording are mezzosoprano Irene Sorozábal, and myself playing theorbo. The motet was published in Concerti Ecclasiastici (Milan, 1610); a collection of motets and sonatas by G. P. Cima and his brother, Giovanni Andrea Cima (c.1580–after 1627).

Using only the first note of my recording of this motet (and thereby the first syllable of ad-iuro), I analysed the spectral content of this note using electro-acoustic software. From this analysis I was able to emphasise certain partials, or often isolate many of them, and re-construct a variety of partial combinations. These sounds were then assigned to three different tracks to create an antiphonal polyphonic work. By emphasising certain partials I was also able to produce another vowel sound ‘o’, which can be heard early in the piece. However many of the sounds go beyond what can be considered as vocal sounds, and they evolve into different timbres. Sometimes like sul ponticello strings, the ringing of small bells, or even the sounds of handling ceramics.

The composition begins with a cycle of three long moments with short silences in between. Some of the more exaggerated differences in sounds that were created are heard in these moments. The original note can then be heard in its purest form, and is thereafter transformed into glissandi and microtonal variations. The composition ends with the longest stretching-out of the first syllable, highlighting an array of partials.

My intention was never to make full use of the text Adiuro vos, filiae Ierusalem (Song of Soloman 5:8), but to create another world in its first syllable.

Listen here.

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