St Catherine of Siena (1347-80) (E)
Choral level of difficulty: 1 (5 greatest)
This short motet was commissioned by St Dominic’s Sixth Form College, Harrow-on-the-Hill celebrating their 40th anniversary. MacMillan chose a text by St Catherine of Siena (1347-80) which is entirely appropriate to young people about to be let loose on the world to fulfill their potential: ‘Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire’. But where another composer might have made this a fanfare MacMillan writes with the gentleness of sincerity. The music is very straightforward and in wanting a solo soprano line he outlines all the ways this can be achieved: soloist, group of sopranos, or all the sopranos if the altos can be split into two. The choir repeats the mantra text above throughout the motet, while the soprano solo line is given the prayer which follows. Only at the very end do they all join together in the words ‘Jesus, love, Jesus, love’ and another lovely E major ending, like I am your mother.
Repertoire Note by Paul Spicer