• English
  • |
  • Euskera
  • |
  • Castellano
Disc information
Title:PRIEZ POUR PAIX; Kup taldea - Gabriel Baltés, conductor
Artist:Aita Donostia (1886-1956)
Gender:Sacred choral music
Flash is required!

Ingrediente Domino

Aita Donostia (1886-1956)
PRIEZ POUR PAIX; Kup taldea - Gabriel Baltés, conductor

“That it be real art and, in addition, sacred art” (1)

José Antonio Donostia (1886-1956), researcher, folklorist and lecturer, was also a Capuchin monk and composer. These two facets joined in him to create a rich repertoire of choral works of a religious character, repertoire that embellished many liturgical celebrations, but that was also able to enter the concert halls. As the same Donostia said, "the religious music has to be, first of all, music", real art, besides sacred art.

The album Pray for peace  offers a choice of twenty six wotks of this genre, composed by Donostia from 1937 to 1955 (with the exception of Respice de Caelo, that is from 1917). All of them are a capella originals, devoid of instrumental accompaniment, for mixed choir for four voices, woth some exceptions such as two works for white voices (You are my hope and Hail, Mary) and other two for men’s voices (Agur Maria  and O Illustrious Doctor). Most of the works can be regarded as motets, although there are some of them of a different make, as Virgin Mother of God, that is put together as a medieval sequence, with the characteristic utilization of the same melody for every two verses. This work avoids anyhow the monotone by allocating different roles (melody of the sequence and accompaniment) to the voices of women and men, that only join themselves in the last strophe. O Holy Night is also an exception, in which donostia looks deliberately for the popular structure of the strophic song.

Owing probably to the containment and typical sensitivity of Donostia's style, even the slightest touches of originality stand out very much in his works: the suspended phrase "ante conspectum tuum" in O Holy Virgin Mary, the surprising end in the repetition of the amen in Agur Maria, the descriptive use of the voice, which with closed mouths simulates the wind in the Christmas carol Joseph is Walking which induces us to perceive even colder the night in which the history takes place... In some of the works the Gregorian inspiration is evident, sometimes by the quote of a known melody, others by the occasional employment of the monody (When the Lord entered on the Holy City) and, in general, by the restricted scope of all the melodies. The fact is that Donostia always tried to avoid in his works (and not only in the religious ones), the hackneyed features of the most popular music of his time, as the emphatic ends or the overelaborated melodies. But in a special way in his religious music and under the influence of the directives of Pio X’s Motu proprio, he tried to look for simplicity and clarity, "that matter that is noble and praiseworthy; not bombastic of lines, but rather close stuck to its scope", said the composer.

Most of the works gathered in this album were conceived for a liturgical use and therefore they contain Latin texts of liturgical origin, some so well known as O Sacrum Convivium (O Sacred Banquet, that is used in the liturgy of the day of the Corpus Christi), and many more of Marian subject matter, such as Recordare, Virgo Mater Dei (Remember, O Virgin Mother of God), or O Beata Virgo Maria (O Blessed Virgin Mary). Nevertheless, there are works that correspond to another type of motivation, such as Tanto son da Groriosa, based on a text from one of the troubadour poems of Alfonso X, or Mi Esperanza (My Hope) based on an anonymous text of Barbieri's song-book.

A separate commentary is worth for two works with text in French that head the collection we are commenting: Priez pour Paix and Oh Jésus, amour. Priez pour Paix is a spiritual song more than a liturgical piece. Is it written to five mixed voices (S1, S2, A, T, B), on a Charles D'Orléans’ poetical text. It was composed in Paris within a few months of the outbreak of Second World War and it seems to be evident that the work is a personal response to this event. It is exciting to think that only one year before, Donostia had written O Jésus, amour, subtitled "Prayer for the unity", and that while in this one he was feeling himself "in the unity of charity", in that other he was claiming the peace for a people that was immersed in a "war that  disturbs everything".

Definitively, the collection here assembled offers us the opportunity to  enjoy again a music of great beauty that disappeared of the temples and that is well worth of returning to the  current choral repertoire. Most of these works are nowadays unknown and, but for some exceptions, they had never been recorded.

Isabel Díaz Morlán


1 From the conference “The Motu Proprio and the popular religious song”, given by J.A. Donostia on 12th December 1954 at the Victoria Eugenia Theater of San Sebastián.



1. Priez pour Paix
2. Oh Jésus, amour
3. Angele Dei
4. Recordare, Virgo Mater Dei
5. O Beata Virgo Maria
6. Glorificasti, Domine
7. Respice de caelo
8. Tanto son da Groriosa
9. Mi esperanza
10. Stabat Mater
11. Ave Maria
12. Ingrediente Domino
13. Virgo Dei Genitrix
14. Agur, Maria
15. O Domina Mea
16. Caminando va José
17. O Sacrum Convivium
18. Oració per a obtenir l’amor
19. ¿Qué sería yo sin ti?
20. O Sanctisima Anima
21. O Doctor Optime
22. Dios te salve, pan de vida
23. Sancta et Inmaculata Virginitas
24. Salve Sancte Pater
25. Atraviesa Jesús
26. Oi Gau Saindua



 "Kup Taldea da vida a estas piezas con una interpretación cristalina, de deliciosa factura, acorde a la escritura sorprendentemente traslúcida del religioso. Además del valor de la interpretación en sí, este disco nos descubre muchas obras de gran valor y belleza, nunca grabadas antes"
(Revista Melómano)

"Este álbum nos ofrece una selección de obras para coro mixto a capella, en la tradición del motete, compuestas por Donostia entre 1937 y 1955. De estilo litúrgico, la inspiración de este corpus oscila entre la temática mariana y latina (Virgo Mater Dei), la tradición medieval (Tanto son da Groriosa) y las propias experiencias del compositor (como Priez pour Paix, respuesta personal al estallido de la Segunda Guerra Mundial). Emotivas composiciones de Donostia, la mayoría inéditas hasta la fecha, cuyo sentido espiritual se halla plenamente suscrito por Kup Taldea y Gabriel Baltés" (Diverdi)

NBMusika is an agency for representation of artists, that entrusts itself with the management of their agendas, their promotion and their activity in general, assuming in addition the responsibility of all the bureaucratic tasks derived from the exercise of the abovementioned activities.
NBMusika, besides managing its own projects, facilitates a professional structure for the organization of events, concerts, cycles and festivals, including, if is needed, programming tasks.
more information

© 2009 NBmusika. · Legal Advice · Privacity · Credits