Required Resources: SATB choir
This classic Byrd motet, Be unto Me, O Lord, a Tower of Strength, beautifully edited here by early music expert William Tortolano, uses a text by Sir William Leighton, and is applicable on any general Sunday:
Be unto me, O Lord, a tower of strength, against my mortal foe.
O guard and keep me with Thy power, which way so ever I shall go.
Then shall my heart and soul rejoice in God my Lord, with cheerful voice.
In it, the composer uses subtle examples of text painting: the text, "a tow'r of strength," is set to sturdy, homophonic chords; "with cheerful voice," introduces happily running eighth notes.
Ranges are moderate:
- Soprano: C# – D
- Alto: C – D
- Tenor: D – high G
- Bass: A – D
Since the upper two voices share nearly identical ranges (and frequently overlap), the director might divide sopranos and altos equally on these two parts — thus assuring perfect balance!
This would also allow the motet to be lowered a half or whole step, if the high G for tenors is at all a problem.
The flexibilty of the parts, the general nature of the text, and the relative ease of the music make this beautiful motet beneficial to any choral program.
Order #: 7094
- Treasury Series
- Ordinary Time
- SATB Choir
- a cappella