As we celebrate lose the the dedication of the basilica of Saint John Lateran, the primary church of Christendom, at this end of the Octave of All Saints’, it is fitting to revisit the great motet of Anton Bruckner (+1896) Locus iste. Bruckner composed the transcendent piece in 1869, for the consecration of the Votivkapelle, or the ‘votive chapel’ for the New Cathedral in Linz, Austria, as the major section of the church was completed. For thirteen years, from 1855 to 1868, Bruckner had been the organist at the Old Cathedral.
The text is part of the proper for the Mass for the dedication of a church: Locus iste, a Deo factus est – ‘This (holy) place was made by God’. I’m not sure that fully applies to all modern sacred structures, where, given their lack of sacrality, it seems God’s permissive will is more in effect. But the New Cathedral, finally completed in 1925, fits the bill for a truly holy place, its soaring Gothic architecture and glorious stained glass quite apt for the sacred worship of Ever-Holy Triune God; as, of course, is Bruckner’s simple, yet transcendent, composition. Here a glorious rendition from Voces8, who seem to bring older music to ever-new heights.