Ko Matsushita: Ubi caritas

Ko Matsushita

Ubi caritas

Antiphon for Holy Thursday



For the moving moment in the Good Friday liturgy, when the priest symbolically washes the feet of several people thereby recalling the thoughtful, loving gesture of Christ at the Last Supper, the Christian church provides a specially intimate, conciliatory text in the antiphon "Ubi caritas". Matsushita’s composition sets this text quite simply to reflect this moment in a beautiful motet, which is both charming and grateful to sing. In an entirely tonal setting in F major, with chromatic accents sparingly employed, he uses elements from organum and pedal points to create tonally atmospheric expanses contrasting with the syllabic setting which runs throughout. In his writing he uses unisons, thirds and contrary motion, spanning quasi-Gregorian melodies. Matsushita sets the three verses of the hymn usually set nowadays, and these also divide the composition. Each verse is introduced with the ascending pentatonic motif "Ubi caritas", but the melody is transformed according to the text and expresses the "immeasurable joy" of the glory of God in the third verse in a brief forte outburst with leaps of a fifth, before the composition concludes with a final "Ubi caritas" and an "Amen" lost in reverie. voice range: S: c' – f'' / A1:a° - es'' / A2: g° - b' / T: f° - f' / B1: B – des' / B2: F – a'



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