Palestrina’s Inimitable “Sicut Cervus”

There are about a zillion recordings of this motet - all adult male, boys and men, mixed voices. Why this one? I liked the tempo. One of my mottoes is “Keep it moving!”

Here's the translation because it's nice to know what you're listening to:

Sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarum, 
ita desiderat anima mea ad te, Deus. 
Sitivit anima mea ad Deum fortem vivum: 
quando veniam et apparebo ante faciem Dei? 
Fuerunt mihi lacrymae meae panes die ac nocte, 
dum dicitur mihi quotidie: 
Ubi est Deus tuus? 

As the hart longs for the water springs, 
So longs my soul for thee, O God. 
My soul has thirsted for the living God: 
When shall I come and appear before the face of my God? 
My tears have been my bread by day and by night, 
While it is said to me daily: 
Where is your God?


  1. I like this tempo too.

    A few years ago I went to Mass at a Cathedral on the other side of the country. The pre-Mass rehearsal of the Responsorial Psalm went way too long and they'd scheduled Sicut as the choral prelude. They proceeded to sing the motet at about twice the tempo of the above.

    It was not something I'd want to hear again.

  2. When you don't have time to do something, just wait till next week. Right?

    1. Or not have pre-Mass Psalm rehearsals that might run long.

  3. Beautifully sung, very much in the spirit of the performance by the Collegium Musicum - Coro e Orchestra dell'Università di Bologna (I've sung it in the past, though, with much smaller groups 1 or 2 on a part):

  4. I'm really enjoying your blog, MJ. Thank you!

    1. Thanks. I'm going to curate the entries a little more as I go along. Spent time this morning "stacking" music by modern composers.


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