This sublime Eucharistic motet by Franco-Flemish composer Pierre de La Rue is one of the subtle gems of the Renaissance repertoire. Its simple homophonic beginning that blossoms into a polyphonic cascade is accessible to most choirs without sacrificing elegance in the least.
Originally placed in the Sanctus of de La Rue's Missa Sancta Anna, this "elevation motet" elegantly sets St. Thomas Aquinas' famous last two stanza's from his Eucharistic hymn, Verbum Supernum, a text commissioned by Pope Urban IV for the institution of the Feast of Corpus Christi in 1264.
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O Salutáris Hóstia de La Rue | TTBB a cappella | 3'
O Salutáris hóstia
quae caeli pandis óstium:
bella premunt hostília,
da robur, fer auxílium.
Uni trinóque Dómino,
sit sempitérna glória,
qui vitam sine término
nobis donet in pátria.
O SAVING Victim opening wide
The gate of heaven to all below.
Our foes press on from every side;
Thine aid supply, Thy strength bestow.
To Thy great name be endless praise
Immortal Godhead, One in Three;
Oh, grant us endless length of days,
In our true native land with Thee.
~ tr. E Caswall