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Constanzo Festa
c.1490 - 1545
C. Festa
Constanzo Festa (c.1490 - 10/04/1545), an Italian singer and composer, born in Piemonte/Turin. He was probably a student of Mouton in Paris and became a member of the Pontifical choir in Rome in 1517, and soon afterwards Maestro at the Vatican remaining until his death. He composed about 4 masses, 40 motets, 30 hymns, 13 Magnificat settings and a large number of madrigals (the first book of which appeared in 1537). His Te Deum (published in 1596) is still sung at important services and at the inauguration of a Pope at the Vatican in Rome. He has to be considered as one of the principal composers in the generation of the early (first period) madrigal composers ( among others: Arcadelt, Verdelot, Willaert, Gero ) and he was founder and member of the School of Rome to which Palestrina was the Primus inter pares.
Author:Wim Goossens
Libera me, Domine
Period:Early Renaissance
Musical form:motet
Label(s):Stradivarius STR 33585
This motet à 4 vocibus is written to a Responsorium taken out of the Absolutio super tumulum out of the Officium defunctorum more specific In Exsequiis and is written for four voices ATBarB. Festa follows the Gregorian melody of the Responsorium literally in alternating polyphony and plainchant. The Cantus Firmus is divided between the Superior and the Bassus. At the end of this motet Festa is showing in Requiem aeternam and Et lux perpetua his enormous capacity by using in fact very simple means with result! The Libera me, Domine was published in the Motetti III and found in Lucca, Biblioteca del semenario.
Author:Wim Goossens

♫ Libera me, Domine
© Stradivarius STR 33585
Quis dabit oculis nostris fontem lacrymarum
Period:Early Renaissance
Musical form:motet
In memory of:/ dedicated to: Anne of Brittany (1477-1514)
Label(s):Archiv 2547029; Archiv 4747135 ; Vivarte SK53116 ; Lado C/31; CHR 77403 ; CHE 01702 ; ZZT 110501 ; Stradivarius 33439 ; Sony 53116 ; Sony 60489
Christophorus CHR 77439
This motet ‘Quis dabit oculis nostris fontem lacrymarum’ is witten by Constanzo Festa at the occasion of the death of Anne of Brittany (1477-1514). Anne, Duchess of Brittany (25/01/1477 – 09/01/1514), also known as Anna of Brittany (French: Anne de Bretagne; Breton: Anna Vreizh), was a Breton ruler, who was to become queen to two successive French kings. She was born in Nantes, Brittany, and was the daughter of Francis II, Duke of Brittany (1433-1488) and Margaret of Foix (1443-1469). Upon her father's death, she became sovereign Duchess of Brittany, Countess of Nantes, Montfort and Richmont and Viscountess of Limoges. Festa was employed at the court of France in 1513-1514. Indeed this motet is similar to the settings by his chapel colleague Jean Mouton (c.1459-1522) which we published and discussed already here at this Requiemsurvey. The beginning of the text paraphrases the first verse from the ninth chapter of the Book Jeremiah. But this text also takes note of all the themes of the sermons proclaimed during the funeral ceremonies for Anne of Brittany at Blois, at Notre-Dame and at Saint-Denis all in France. See too the text by Angelo Poliziano (1454-1494) on the occasion of the death of Lorenzo the Magnificent (1449 -1492) and set to music by the South Netherlandish Hendrik Isaac (1450-1517).
This lamentations consists out of three movements
In the first movement (Prima pars: Quis dabit oculis) Festa starts in a polyphonic way. The Bass starts followed by Tenor, Contratenor (Phrase like Bass) and Discantus (Phrase like Tenor) in paired polyphonic way alternated with homophonic idiom. After the setting ‘Musica silent’ is a symbolic rest! From this rest the idiom in this first part is more homophonic with a word accent (4 eighth ascending notes ) in ‘lugubri’! ending is a homophonic way c-Dorian, here with a twice repeated ‘maerore consumeris’ spent with grief. This movement has 53 bars.
The second movement (Secunda pars: Heu nobis Domine) starts again in a paired polyphonic way, (Tenor, Bass, Contratenor, Discantus). As an Italian who does not hesitate to show his feelings Festa converted a joyful ‘gaudium cordis nostris’ into a deep homophonic mourning because ‘cecidit corona capitis nostri’ the crown has fallen from our head, in a slowly 3/2 time! ending in an austere e-Phrygian. This movement has 31 bars.
The third movement (Tertia pars: Ergo ululate pueri) starts again with paired polyphony ( from Discantus, Contratenor, Tenor, to Bass) in a descending sequence. Everybody has to say at the end at the of this motet the twice-repeated apostrophes: ‘An-na’, ending with the prayer “requiescat in pace” set in a sober end (a-e-e-a) in a-Aeolian.
This motet is published among others in Corpuralis Mensurabilis Musicae 25-5.
Author:Wim Goossens

♫ Quis dabit oculis nostris fontem lacrymarum
© Christophorus CHR 77439

Prima pars:
Quis dabit oculis nostris fontem lachrymarum?
Et plorabimus die ac nocte coram Domino?
Britannia, quid ploras? Musica sileat.
Francia, cur deducta lugubri veste
maerore consumeris?

Secunda pars:
Heu nobis, Domine, defecit Anna,
gaudium cordis nostri.
Conversus est in luctum chorus noster.
Cecidit corona capitis nostri.

Tertia pars:
Ergo ululate pueri, plorate sacerdotes,
ululate senes, lugete cantores,
plangite nobiles et dicite:
Anna, Anna, requiescat in pace.


First part:
Who will give our eyes a fountain of tears
to weep day and night before the Lord?
Brittany, why do you weep?
Let Music keep silent.
France, why did you tear your vest in mourning and are spent with grief?

Second part:
Alas, Lord, Anna has passed away!
The joy of our hearts was turned into mourning;
The crown has fallen from our head.

Third part:
Therefore, boys howl, priests weep,
the singing men lament, the nobles weep and say:
May Anna rest in peace.
Contributor:Wim Goossens