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Visita, quaesumus Domine - William Byrd, John Rutter, The Cambridge Singers

Visita, quaesumus Domine
From ‘Lighten our Darkness’
Music for the close of day

Composer William Byrd
Conductor John Rutter
Choir The Cambridge Singers

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Visita, quaesumus Domine
This inexplicably neglected little piece must be one of the loveliest and most affecting Byrd ever wrote. It comes from the 1605 Gradualia (the first of two collections of Byrd’s motets for the seasons and observances of the liturgical year), and presents an unexpectedly serene, gentle aspect of his musical personality. In a texture of magical transparency, without basses, he paints a sound picture of guardian angels hovering overhead, akin in atmosphere to the peace and radiance of a Raphael Nativity. The office of Compline can seldom have been so sensitively and evocatively adorned.

Visita, quaesumus Domine, habitationem istam, et omnes insidias inimici ab ea longe repelle:Angeli tui sancti habitent in ea, qui nos in pace custodiant; et benedictio tua sit super nos semper. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
(Benediction at Compline)

(Visit, we beseech thee, O Lord, this dwelling, and drive far from it all snares of the enemy. Let thy holy angels dwell herein to preserve us in peace, and may thy blessing be upon us evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.)

Lighten our Darkness
The service of Compline has inspired many incredibly beautiful compositions and this collection gathers together 18 of the many lovely a cappella choral motets written to adorn the evening worship of the church. Composers include Byrd, Guerrero, Rachmaninov and Sheppard, alongside such less well-known masterworks as Rheinberger’s Abendlied and the four great Marian motets of Victoria.

John Rutter, English composer and conductor, is associated with choral music throughout the world. His recordings with the Cambridge Singers (the professional chamber choir he set up in 1981) have reached a wide global audience, many of them featuring his own music in definitive versions. Among John’s best-known choral works are Gloria, Requiem, Magnificat, Mass of the Children, and Visions, together with many church anthems, choral songs and Christmas carols.