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Elevation motet: Adoramus te Christe

Elevation motet: Adoramus te Christe (Loyset Compère)


One of the most solemn moments in the Mass occurs when the celebrant raises the bread and wine for consecration (the Elevation). In the late Middle Ages, this action was sometimes accompanied by a short choral work, typically slow-moving and solemn in character. Adoramus te Christe by Loyset Compère represents this genre of Elevation motets. Void of virtuosity, the slowly declaimed chords and text suggest the solemnity of the ritual. The vocal lines become more independent only in the closing part of the motet, as the text turns to a penitential prayer in the first person.

Dating from the 1470s, when Compère served Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza of Milan, Adoramus te Christe is taken from a cycle of eight motets to be sung during the Mass. These motet cycles (called motetti missales) were a characteristic feature of the Milanese liturgy at the end of the fifteenth century. Their motets appear to have been sung in place of the regular Mass texts while the priest spoke the “missing” liturgical text.

Adoramus te, Christe,
et benedicimus tibi,
quia per sanctam crucem tuam
redemisti mundum.O sanguis Christi, qui fusus amoreFuisti humani generis

Precor nos auxiliaris

Dele peccata
Da nobis regna beata.

We adore You, O Christ,
and we bless You,
for you have redeemed the worldby Your Holy Cross.O blood of Christ, which was poured out

for love of the human race,
I pray, help us,
blot out sins,
give us blessed realms.


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