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Antoine Divitis
c.1473 - c.1528
Belgium
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A. Divitis
Antoine Divitis -Antonius de Rycke, Antoine Le Riche- (c.1473 - c.1528), born in Louvain, Belgium / The Netherlands.
Divitis belongs to the third generation of polyphonic composers out of the Netherlands. Antonius (Toon) de Rycke was born in Louvain between 1470 and 1475. Known in the Latinized form of his name (Divitis), Antonius de Rijcke was initially a singer and master of the Choirboys in Bruges and Magister Cantus in Malines (Mechelen, Rombout cathedral), before entering the Chapel of Philippe the Beautiful in Spain, Burgos from 1505 up to 1509. There after Divitis was member of the Royal Chapel of Ann of Bretagne in 1509. There in the last mentioned Royal Chapel, Divitis had as colleagues Jean Mouton (c.1459-1522), Jean Richafort (c.1480-c.1547) and Claudin de Sermisy (c.1490-1562). In 1515, Antonius de Rijcke remained with the service of François the first at the French court. His name appears from 1510 until 1525 in the list of the members of the Royal Chapel. According to the testimony (later on) by Vincenzo Galilei, Antonius de Rijcke would have made a stay in Rome in 1513. Antoine de Rijcke (Divitis) was a great contrapuntist. The musical example of this ability (motet Iste speciosa, published at Andrea Antico), comprises four voices in canon and a fifth voice in decorative style. It is probably for his skill that Divitis is quoted in the motet MATER FLOREAT (to the glory of Anne of Bretagne) written by Pierre Moulu about 1510.
Author:Wim Goossens
Missa pro fidelibus defunctis
Period:Early Renaissance
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
Duration:32'40''
Label(s):Mirasound Mira 299408
See also: Antoine de Févin. The Requiem Mass there mentioned is the same as this one.
The nine movements of this Missa pro Fidelibus Defunctis Anthonius Divitis pie memorie are:
- Introitus: Requiem aeternam.
- Kyrie Christe Kyrie.
- Graduale: Si ambulem.
- Tractus: Sitivit.
- Offertorium: Domine Jesu Christe.
- Sanctus.
- Benedictus.
- Agnus Dei I, II, III.
- Communio: Lux aeterna.

This nine-movement Requiem Mass is generally scored for soprano, alto, tenor and bass, (SATB) and (like all Renaissance requiems) based on the corresponding melodies from the plainsong Mass for the Dead. It is still rather uncertain whether Antonius Divitis or his colleague Antoine de Févin ( 1473-1512) wrote this Requiem Mass.
This Requiem Mass is written for 2 up to 5 voices. The Introitus, Kyrie, Graduale, Offertorium Communio and Requiem aeternam are written for SATB. The Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei I and III are written for five voices SATBB. But Agnus Dei II is written for three voices STB. Part of the Graduale Virga tua up to consolata sunt is written for two voices SA. So the last part of the Offertorium hostias et preces tibi ending with ad vitam. The Tractus starts with three voices SAB, and from fuerunt it is written for four voices SATB.
In the five voices parts of the Mass Divitis uses double Bass in colouring that parts very dark.
In the Occo Codex named to a rich Amsterdam merchant named Pompeius Occo (1483-1537) this setting of the Requiem Mass is found. Probably the Occo Codex is produced between 1526-1534 by Almire at Malines (Mechelen) and was certainly ordered by Pompeius Occo. In this source - the Occo Codex - this Requiem Mass is named: Missa pro Fidelibus Defunctis Anthonius Divitis pie memorie on the other hand in a Vienna source the same Mass is named Missa pro Fidelibus Defunctis Anthonius Févin pie memorie. What is mentioned by this dedication? Why these differences? We can only guess, which we prefer not to do.
The plainsong cantus firmus can be found in the Superius or Tenor. The ordinarium parts are written in a more homophone style, to the contrary the proprium parts are set in a some rich way. Of course Divitis uses imitative polyphonic style like his Netherlands contemporaries Obrecht (1450-1505), Alexander Agricola (c.1446-1506), Noël Bauldewijn (c.1480-1529) and Josquin Des Prez (1440-1521) did. In all the proprium and ordinarium parts Divitis starts with the applicable plainsong part. The plainsong parts are not written in the Kyrie parts, but due to the very short polyphonic parts used by Divitis alternating with plainsong seems admitted or even mend. This Requiem Mass is written in the very early part of the sixteenth century. This Requiem breaths a deep modest sphere.
It is interesting to compare and to listen to the other magnificent Requiems written by this third Netherlands generation like Johannes Ockeghem( c.1420-1497), Johannes Prioris (c.1460-1514), Antoine Brumel (c.1460-1513), Pierre de la Rue (1460-1518) and Josquin Des Prez (1440-1521). And don’t forget the Requiem by the Spanish Pedro de Escobar (c.1465-1535) composed at the same time.
Author:Wim Goossens