There is a personal irony in the fact that this work, by Clemens non Papa, is something I listen to nearly every day, in a recording by Stile Antico - the sound is so warm and beautiful, and they take it so slowly, revealing a density to the work that eludes the faster performances.
But that's not ironic, is it? Wait, it will come. But I needed to get the beauty of the performance out of the way. At some point, I had decided that I would make this a motet for my wedding, by which I mean of course, some hypothetical wedding, and not one that is actually happening, although I must admit that one rarely thinks about wedding plans unless there was someone with whom they could imagine (or dare I say, fantasize) walking down that aisle, and taking their soft, delicate hand into yours and slipping a ring onto her finger as, oh, something like this unfolds in the background.
Having been married, and having had a choir sing at my first wedding, I was reluctant to do this again. But then I heard this piece, and I decided I would be OK with a choir, singing this work, very slowly, perhaps not as part of a service, but as a musical gift to my then-future-past wife.
Do you know where the words for this piece come from? The Song of Songs, the Bible's liminal space. This piece is like a soundtrack to a wedding that will never happen, or at least, I won't be there. But I can really only talk about this because I'm OK with it - my silence, and you know this, is more often a sign of pain than of joy. And you can rest assured that, as of right now, M, I have never been happier. Honestly.
Oh right, the irony. The words "Ego Flos Campi" means something like I am the flower of the field. Heidenröslein.
I can see your face now - The work that sings of the wedding that will never be recites the very moment when the possibility of that wedding died, auf der Heiden.
It puts a smile on one's face, doesn't it? How did I not know this until today?
Life constantly amazes!