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Gioseffo Zarlino
1517 - 1590
G. Zarlino
Gioseffo Zarlino (31/01/1517 or 22/03/1517 - 04/02/1590), an Italian composer. He was born in Chioggia, near Venice. He Received his early education with the Franciscans, and Zarlino later joined the order himself. In 1536 Zarlino was a singer at Chioggia Cathedral, and by 1539 he became a deacon and also principal organist. In 1540 he was ordained, and in 1541 he went to Venice to study with the famous contrapuntist and maestro di cappella of Saint Mark's, the famous South-Netherlandish Adrian Willaert (c.1480-1562). In 1565, on the resignation of the South-Netherlandish Cipriano de Rore (1516 - 1565), Zarlino took over the post of maestro di cappella of St. Mark's, one of the most prestigious musical positions in Italy, and held it until his death. While maestro di cappella he taught and was the master of some of the in after years principal figures of the Venetian school of composers: Claudio Merulo (1533 - 1604), Girolamo Diruta (c.1554 - c.1610), and Giovanni Croce (c.1557 - 1609), as well as Vincenzo Galilei (c.1520 - 1591), the father of the astronomer, and the famous reactionary polemicist Giovanni Artusi (1540 - 1613).
He was a moderate prolific composer and a famous theorist of the canonic counterpoint. His theoretic works are published by Francesco Franceschi (1530 - c.1599). The madrigals and the motets avoid the homophonic textures and are more remaining Polyphonic! His sacred works were published between 1549 and 1567, and include 41 motets, mostly for five and six voices. His madrigals include 13 works for four and five voices.
Author:Wim Goossen
Si bona suscepimus
Period:Early Renaissance
Composed in:1549
Musical form:Musical form: Motet a 5 vocibus aequalium
Text/libretto:Latin from a Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum
This plainchant Si bona suscepimus is an old Responsorium. There are about 138 Responsoria de Officium Defunctorum, Responds from Office of the Dead known and used during centuries in the Office of the Dead. They are all well ordered, this is number 87. One of the two corresponding Versicle from the Office of the Dead “ Nudus egressus” number 156 is even used by Jacobus Clement (1515-1556), Gombert (c.1495-c.1557), Phillip Verdelot ( 1480/85 – 1530/32), Lassus (1532-1594), Lechner (1553-1606) and Thomas Selle (1599-1663) did. But on the other hand Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612) and Claudin de Sermisy (1490-1562) used only the Respond version without the Versicle-part so did Constanzo Porta (1529-1601). The other Versicle is ‘In omnibus’. It is known the use of Responds and Versicles of the Office of the Dead vary per region all over Europe, see for instance the authors Knud Ottosen, Ruth Steiner and R-J Hesbert. This particularly Respond ‘Si bona suscepimus’ as a Respond out of the Office of the Dead is used and found in the series of Deventer Holland and preserved in the University of Amsterdam. Next to it the more general type (Respond-Type 25) to which this Respond ‘Si bona suscepimus’ belongs is spread in the area under the Ottonian and Salian emperors the counties of Lower Lorraine, of Flanders, Champgane and the northern part of Holland. The principal source is found before 1318 in Aachen, executed in Aix-la-Chapelle as we see in Knud Ottosen’s excellent book. In general the text is coming out of the Book Job. The choice of texts and the order in which they occur in the sources all around Europe vary according to local uses. This text setting is found in Deventer in a source out of 1516 and this Respond is sung at the end/closing of the third nocturne. Of course we know there is a plainchant sung at the first and second Sunday of September with nearly the same words, but this musically texture set by Zarlino convince us to conclude to a funeral Respond. This long setting of the motet Si bona suscepimus - consisting out of 148 bars - is written by Zarlino for five lower voices ATTTB. This motet is written in polyphonic imitative style with created imitative settings and lots of tempi changing. The Altus starts followed by Tenor II, Bassus, Tenor I and Tenor III in an imitative polyphonic style. All parts have an ascending semitone ( A&B a-bflat or all T d-eflat). Zarlino uses lots of syncopation and word-painting. Special word-painting at the word ‘Domino’ with ascending notes in Bars 50-54 and further at the words ‘placuit’ and ‘Domino’ with quavers in bars 58-59 respectively 73. The Verses starts in bar 81 in again polyphonic imitative style with an interesting descending line (a-f-d or d-bflat-a). According to Gregorian rite as from the words ‘Dominus dedit’ the Respond will be repeated from bar 105. The Tenor I and Tenor II have changed their music-lines in the repetition. We really don’t know why, perhaps it could be a mistake by the copyist. All the measures in the repetition are the same except the last two ones (Ms. 147-148).The ‘benedictum’ ends in Ms. 80 on A-Phrygian and ends easily in Ms.147-148 in D-Hypo. This Respond ‘Si bona suscepimus’ setting is published Moduli motecta vulgo noncupata liber primus, 5vv (Venice, 1549) [1549].
Author:Wim Goossens
R. Si bona suscepimus de manu domine, mala autem quare non sustineamus?
Dominus dedit dominus abstulit sicut domino placuit ita factum est. Sit nomen domini benedictum.
V. Nudus egressus sum de utero matris meae, et nudus revertar illuc.
R. Dominus dedit dominus abstulit sicut domino placuit ita factum est. Sit nomen domini benedictum.

R. If we have received good things at the hand of God, why should we not endure evil?
The Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away: as it has pleased the Lord, so is it done: Blessed be the name of the Lord.
V. Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there.
R. The Lord has given, the Lord has taken away: as it has pleased the Lord, so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord.
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Officium Defunctorum ad Matutinum, tres Lectiones
Period:High Renaissance
Composed in:1563c
Musical form:motet ŕ 4 vocibus aequalibus
Text/libretto:Latin out of Officium Defunctorum
Officium Defunctorum ad Matutinum, tres Lectiones:
1. Lectio prima: Parce mihi Domine
2. Lectio secunda: Taedet animam meam vitae meae
3. Lectio tertia: Manus tuae Domine fecerunt me

Giosoffo Zarlino composed in motet-form at least three Lessons out of the Officium Defunctorium ad Matutinum, (Matins from the Office of the Dead) which have been published in the old Liber Usualis (edition 1936, pages 1785-1786). This Office of the Dead more specific these Lessons should be red (Ad Matutinum), in the morning prior to a Requiem Mass and the Burial. There are nine Lessons – out of the Book Job - in the Service of the Dead which were normally followed by each a Responsorium/Respond. These three Lessons were too full part of the Office of the Dead from the eleventh Century until the Second Vatican Council in 1965 were substantial revisions and alterations of the total Office in the Catholic Church have been made. Orlando di Lasso ( 1532-1594) is as far as we know the first South-Netherlandish composer who set all nine Lectiones in even two compositions/bundles together. See our comments in this Website. We found more see for instance Cristobal de Morales (c.1500- 1553), Estęvâo Brito ( c.1570-1641), Juan Vasquez (c.1500-c.1560) and Francesco Azopardi (1748-1809) who composed a Officium Defunctorium with Lessons but not only the nine Lessons. Here in this publication of 1563 we found three lessons (tribus lectionibus pro mortuis) set by the Italian Gioseffo Zarlino. We suppose the other six are lost or still to be discovered in the archives of the St. Mark at Venice. All three have been set for four lower male voices TTTB. They could be possibly sung at the Services at the St. Mark of Venice. The found three lessons consists out of Lectio Prima no. XIX in the publication Parce mihi Domine, consists out of 102 bars and is set in d. Lectio Secunda no. XX in the publication Taedet animam meam vitae meae, consists out of 119 bars and is set in E-Phrygian. Lectio Tertia no. XXI in the publication Manus tuae Domine fecerunt me, consists out of 89 bars and is set in F. All three lessons are set in homophonic polyphone style for male/equal voices and written for the Service but all set in the expression of the text. Interesting here is all three lessons were closed with a homophonic phrase “Blessed are the Dead who die in the Lord”! That does in our opinion mean those settings are used in the Services of the Dead.
These three lessons are separately and not as a bundle published in Mottetta di Cipriano de Rore et aliorum auctorum quatuor vocum parium cum tribus lectionibus pro mortuis Josepho Zarlino auctore Venezia MDLXIII.
Author:Wim Goossens
Text in Primo Nocturno:

XIX. Parce mihi, Domine, nihil enim sunt dies miei.
quid est homo, quia magnificas eum?
Aut quid apponis erga eum cor tuum?
Visitas eum diluculo et subito probas illum.
Usquequo non parcis mihi, nec dimittis me, ut glutiam salivam meam?
Peccavi, quid faciam tibi, o custos hominum?
Quare posuisti me contrarium tibi, et factus sum mihimetispsi gravis?
Cur no{n] tollis peccatum meum, et quare non aufert iniquitatem meam?
Ecce, nunc in pulvere dormiam, et si mane me quaesieris, non subsistam.
Beati mortui in Domino moriuntur.

XIX. Let me alone; for my days are vanity.
What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?
And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment?
How long wilt thou not depart from me, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle?
I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself?
And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away my iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.

XX. Taedet animam meam vitae meae,
dimittam adversum me eloquium meum,
loquar in amaritudine animae meae.
Dicam Deo: Noli me condemnare:
indica mihi cur me ita judices.
Numquid bonum tibi videtur,
si calumnieris me et opprimas me,
opus manuum tuarum,
et consilium impiorum adjuves?
Numquid oculi carnei tibi sunt:
aut sicut videt homo, et tu videbis?
Numquid sicut dies hominis dies tui,
et anni tui sicut humana sunt tempora,
ut quaeras iniquitatem meam,
et peccatum meum scruteris?
Et scias quia nihil impium fecerim,
cum sit nemo qui de manu tua possit eruere.
Beati mortui in Domino moriuntur.

XX. My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself;
I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me.
Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest
despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked?
Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth?
Are thy days as the days of man? are thy years as man's days,That thou enquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin?
Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and there is none that can deliver out of thine hand.
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.

XXI. Manus tuae Domine fecerunt me
et plamaverunt me totum in circuitu
et sic repente precipitas me
memento quaeso quod sicut lutum fecerisme
et in pulverem reduces me
et sicut caseum me coagulasti me
pelle et carnibus vestisti me,
ossibus et nervis compegisti me
vitam et misericordiam tribuisti mihi
et visitatio tua custodivit spiritum meum.
Beati mortui in Domino moriuntur.

XXI. Thy hands have made me, and fashioned me wholly round about,
and dost thou thus cast me down headlong on a sudden?
Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay, and thou wilt bring me into dust.
Hast thou not milked me as milk, and curdled me like cheese?
Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh: thou hast put me together with bones and sinews:
Thou hast granted me life and mercy, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.
Before I go… to a land that is dark and covered with the mist of death.
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.
Contributor:Wim Goossens