MURRAY, RICHARD K. (1891-1978)

Richard K. Murray (1891-1978) was a church organist and choir director in North Mankato, Minnesota, during his adult life and had a great love of the liturgical prayer of the Church. He loved the universal language of the Church which was Latin and promoted its continued use in the sacred treasury of church music. After 1964, Vatican Council II also permitted the use of vernacular languages in the liturgy and caused the decline in the use of Latin in the liturgy in the USA and consequently of much beautiful music.
These four motets were composed between 1949 and 1952 on commonly used eucharistic and Marian liturgical texts when men’s choirs were commonplace in churches. The style of writing also is typical of the era as well.
They were given to a fellow Irishman friend of his, William Sharkey, of Faribault, Minnesota, who was a tenor in the Immaculate Conception Church Adult Choir when Sister Anita Smisek, OP was their liturgical music director (1976-1983). Bill gave the music to her in hopes that the men of the choir would be able to sing them. This did not happen however, but she saved the music and is now able to publish them for others to sing.
Understanding the Latin texts is of paramount importance for singing these motets prayerfully, hence the English translations provided by the composer.
All 2-syllable Latin words are accented on the first syllable. For multi-syllabic words, the accent shifts to the second or third syllable. This edition uses an accent mark on the accented syllables to aid in correct pronunciation.
Composers try to keep the verbal accent and the rhythmic accent together, but sometimes that is not always possible and syncopation results, i.e. the accent is on the unaccented beat.