This work is intended for performance on Good Friday during the "Adoration of the Cross" ceremony of the Roman (Catholic) rite. The pitch of the sung parts is given by a member of the choir who, after discreetly obtaining a tone with the aid of a tuning fork (or other such device), intones "Popule meus" (and later "Hagios") clearly on the notes indicated in each case. The recited "Hagios" choruses should be performed as speech on diverse tones, but in the natural speaking registers and in compliance with the rhythms and expression marks indicated. When reciting the word "Sanctus" the consonant "nc" should dominate.
The two speech choruses develop into a "Miserere nobis" sung on chance (random) tones with fixed time values (durations), the second time, however, culminating in completely free improvisation. At this point each singer sings "Miserere nobis" independently of the others. The sentence may be repeated (ad lib.) with new variations until, at a sign from the leader, each initiated phrase is terminated in a diminuendo.
These improvised sections should allow for considerable freedom of expression. They should be a result of spontaneous inspiration, but should at all times be characterised by sacral dignity and should conform to the character of the work as a whole. All sections to be performed quasi attacca - keep the intensity.
The reproaches are to be recited by a male chorister in his normal speaking register, but quasi cantabile.
It is left at the discretion of the performers to decide how many of the recited verses in the last section of the work are to be performed. When "Popule" is sung for the last time the word "mihi" should be uttered as a sigh.