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Giovanni Dragoni
c.1540 - 1598
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G.A. Dragoni
Giovanni Andrea [Giovanni] Dragoni (c.1540 - 12/1598), an Italian composer (born in Meldola, died in Rome) and representative of the Roman school. Dragoni was probably a student of Palestrina (1525-1594) and spent most of his life in Rome, his first book of madrigals was dedicated to his master. From 1576 until his death he was maestro di cappella at San Giovanni in Laterano of Rome. Many of his manuscripts of sacred music completely laid down in Laterano bibliotheca has been lost. In 1594 Dragoni was appointed by Cardinal del Monte, as the successor of Palestrina’s to a commission charged with appraising the revision of the liturgical chant. Many of his other secular works has been published in Venice.
Author:Wim Goossens
Aperite mihi portas
Period:High Renaissance
Musical form:Motet a 4 vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin from Officium Defunctorum
This antiphon Aperite mihi portas set by Giovanni Dragoni is a very short antiphon sung at the end of the in exsequiis Defuncti, the burial services at the graveyard.
If we oversee the literature some different theories are there at what moment this short Antiphon was implemented in the Office of the Dead.
Considering the actual entombment it is very difficult to keep the Roman and Galician traditions in that time sorted out from each other in the available sources. Nevertheless the antiphon Aperite mihi portas, was a fixed value in the former last burial services which was however sung according to the one source at the gate of the graveyard, according to other whereas the priest prays standing before the grave and according to a third one during the entombment itself. To our opinion the most probably the aperite mihi portas was sung after the last Requiescant in pace on the graveyard, at the end of the in exsequiis Defuncti at the moment the body was buried/delivered into the grave under singing the Gregorian antiphon, plainchant Aperite mihi portas followed by the psalm Confitemini (p. 117).
In the Plainchant modus this Antiphon has a duration of about 3’25”.
This Aperite mihi portas is set for four equal voices TTBB and is fully written in sober homophonic style, example of clarity of declamation of the words, contrary to the setting of Givovanni Francesco Anerio (1567-1630, see there. This setting by Dragoni has 14 bars and has some severe modulations but only some minor rhythmic changes.
It ends in a hopeful A-major hoping or stating the justified shall enter the gate of the Lord.
The text of the Antiphon is among others found in Monza, Chapter Library cod. c. 12.75. The Monza Antiphoner. Source M of R.-J. Hesbert, Corpus Antiphonalium Officii.
Author:Wim Goossens
Aperite mihi portas justitiæ: ingressus in eas confitebor Domino.
Hæc porta Domini : justi intrabunt in eam.

Open to me the gates of justice: I will go in to them, and give praise to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord: the justified shall enter into it.
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Missa pro defunctis
Period:High Renaissance
Musical form:Missa a quator vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin Officium defunctorum
This seven-movement requiem mass is scored for four voices, Superior, Alto, Tenor and Bassus (SATB) and the score (like all Renaissance requiems) is based on the corresponding melodies from the plainchant Mass for the Dead.
The survived movements of Dragoni’s Missa pro defunctis are:
01. Introit - Requiem aeternam
02. Kyrie, Christe, Kyrië
03. Offertorium – Domine Jesu Christe
04. Sanctus & Benedictus
05. Agnus Dei
06. Responsorium – Libera me Domine
07. Kyrië, Christe, Kyrië

This Missa pro defunctis is published in: Missa pro Defunctis | in Anniversariis Canonicalinus | cum quatuor vocibus | di Joannis Andreae Dragoni | in Sacrosancta Patriarcali Lateranensi | Ecclesia | Musices Directoris | al anno 1576. ad. an. 1598 | mense Iunio in Joannis Andreae Dragoni. - | Motecta 4. vocibus. - | Tria Cantica. 8 vocibus. - | Missa ad Canones 4 vocibus. - | Missa pro defunctis. 4. vocibus. | Santini Fortunato, 1843-1858 in Missa pro Defunctis | A. R. D. Andrea Draconi Sacros: Latera: Basilicae Benet:to | Composita and in Dragoni. Missa pro defunctis. | Missa pro Defunctis | 4 vocum (sine Graduali, Tractu et Sequentia) autore Joa. Andrea Draconi | Regensburg, 1862 Kornmüller.
Author:Wim Goossens