CHORAL 2 – the Renaissance

The last years of the Renaissance…

Orlande de Lassus was born – like Josquin – in the Franco-Belgian region but eventually settled, in 1556, in Munich at the court of Albrecht V, Duke of Bavaria which he clearly found congenial since he remained for the rest of his life. As a composer he was extremely(!) prolific.

The complete Lagrime di San Pietro [the Tears of St. Peter]:

You can access the texts here.

Here Lassus is in definitely more secular mood – singing the praises of wine:

French text

Vignon, vignon, vignon, vignette,
Qui te planta il fut prudhomme.
Tu fus coupée à la serpette,
Il me semble advis que
Quand tu passes mon gorgeton.
Vignon, vignon, vignon, vignette,
Qui te planta il fut prudhomme.

English translation

Vine, vine, vine, little vine,
he who planted you was a wise man.
You were cut with the pruning knife.
It seems to me that I am drinking my
mother’s milk
when you pass down my throat.
Vine, vine, vine, little vine,
he who planted you was a wise man.

Palestrina was one of the few late Renaissance composers who actually hailed from Italy (Lassus was from what is now Belgium and Victoria from Spain). He established an admired, much imitated style. This mass – composed for the extremely short papacy of Marcellus II (three weeks!) – was sung at papal coronations until 1963.

Missa Papae Marcelli:

00:01 Kyrie
04:44 Gloria
11:00 Credo
20:54 Sanctus et Benedictus
28:33 Agnus Dei 1 et 2

Tomás Luis De Victoria, the last of this triumvirate of great Renaissance composers is also the last representative of the astonishing 16th century flowering of vocal music. He was born in Spain (Ávila in Castile), and after some time spent in Italy returned there in 1587. Perhaps his most famous works are his setting of O magnum mysterium (the responsorial chant for the morning of Christmas – you can see the plainsong above), and his final composition, a Requiem for the sister of Philip II of Spain, the Dowager Empress Maria.

Latin text

O magnum mysterium,
et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,
iacentem in praesepio!
Beata Virgo, cujus viscera
meruerunt portare
Dominum Iesum Christum.

English translation

O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the newborn Lord,
lying in a manger!
Blessed is the virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear
the Lord, Jesus Christ.

0:00 * Taedet Animam Meam
3:19 * Introitus. Requiem Aeternam
9:32 * Kyrie
12:07 * Graduale. Requiem Aeternam
15:15 * Offertorium. Domine, Iesu Christe
19:51 * Sanctus
20:59 * Pleni sunt caeli
21:42 * Benedictus
22:45 * Agnus Dei
25:33 * Communio. Lux Aeterna
29:21 * Funeral Motet: Versa Est In Iuctum
33:02 * Responsory: Libera Me, Domine