Duo Seraphim

Conductor Notes:

Duo Seraphim was probably the most widely-known and most approachable piece on Elektra’s Women of the Italian Baroque program. Word-painting abounds as the opening line describes two angels calling to one another, of course sung by two parts entering after one another. The words they sing start with “Sanctus”, which is supported by the entrance of the third voice. When we sing “Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua”, the musical texture appears to stand still as all three voice lines cover the same five notes for several bars. When we describe the Trinity, each voice part takes one of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, joining together on the words “and these three are one”. Moreover, the music switches briefly into triple meter to further reinforce the idea of the Trinity.

SSA and continuo. I divided the choir into 3 equal parts and the bottom voices were reading a tenor line, sung in tenor range, sitting quite low for women’s voices. The two upper lines are very modest, in contrast with some of the other works on this concert that sat high for soprano 1s.
I note that there is a ClarNan publication containing this work published together with another (“Non tema n˜ di morte” by Maria Francesca Nascinbeni) which is prohibitively expensive. We used the IMSLP edition and had to make our own ficta decisions.

Due Seraphim is recorded on Cappella Artemisia’s CD, “Rosa Mistica”.


This lists any discs, concerts or collections where this piece is included.




Duo Seraphim, clamabant alter ad alterum:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Plena est omnis terra gloria eius.
Tres sunt qui testimonium dant in coelo:
Pater, Verbum et Spiritus Sanctus et hi tres unum sunt.
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Plena est omnis terra gloria eius.


Two seraphim proclaimed one to another:
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts
All earth is filled with his glory.
There are three who give witness in heaven:
The Father, The Word, and The Holy Spirit and these three are one.
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts.
Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.