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Giovanni Francesco Anerio
c.1567 - 1630
Italy
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G.F. Anerio
Giovanni Francesco Anerio (c.1567 - 12/06/1630), an Italian composer; born in Rome, died in Graz, Austria; brother of Felice Anerio (ca. 1560 - 1614).
Source:Grove's dictionary of music and musicians
Giovanni Francesco Anerio spent most of his life in Rome. He became a priest in 1616. He was a member of the Congregazione Dell’Oratio. He was probably Maestro di cappella at San Giovanni in Laterano 1601-1603, later on he was Maestro di cappella at Santo Spirito in Sassia and further of Verona Cathedral. In 1610 he held post as maestro di musica in Verona. Later, 1621 he went back to Rome and was Maestro di cappella of San Maria dei Monti. But he left in 1624 for Poland to become choirmaster to King Sigismund III of Poland at Warsaw. He died in 1630 on his way back to Rome in Graz, Austria. In his works he was the most significant progressive member of the Roman composers of his period. If you compare his below mentioned setting of Aperite mihi portas with that by Giovanni Dragoni (c.1540-1598) you can see and hear what we ment.
Author:Wim Goossens
Aperite mihi portas
Period:Late Renaissance
Musical form:Motet a 4 vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin from Officium Defunctorum
Duration:0'52''
The antiphon Aperite mihi portas set by Giovanni Anerio is a very short antiphon sung at the end of the in exsequiis Defuncti, the burial services at the graveyard. If we search in 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 approximately 3’25”. This Aperite mihi portas is set for four equal voices TTBB and is fully written in a homophonic style, with some polyphonic elements but contrary to the setting of Givovanni Dragoni (1550-1599) this setting by Anerio is very lively, there is some joyful sphere in it. This setting has a lot rhythmical changes, more chord fluctuations and it counts 15 bars. It ends in a hopeful G-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
Text:
Aperite mihi portas justitiæ: ingressus in eas confitebor Domino.
Hæc porta Domini: justi intrabunt in eam.

Translation:
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:Late Renaissance
Composed in:1614
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
Duration:39'40''
Label(s):Hyperion CDA 66417
Hyperion Helios CDH 55213
Requiem for SATB choir. Duration: 39'40''. Anerio's church music illustrates the transition from a Palestrinian idiom (as in the fine requiem mass) to the concertato manner pioneered by Viadana.
G.F. Anerio published a book with masses (1614). In it: Missa pro defunctis cum sequentia et respons. The "Libera me" could be performed separated as well.
Source:Riemann Musik Lexikon
The movements of this Missa pro defunctis are:
Introitus: Requiem aeternam
Kyrie Christe Kyrie
Sequentia: Dies Irae
Offertorium: Domine Jesu Christe
Sanctus
Benedictus
Agnus Dei I, II, III
Communio: Lux aeterna
Responsorium: Libera me, Domine de morte
In Absolutione: Kyrie Christe Kyrie

Anerio is a representative of the Roman/Italian school like: Palestrina (1525-1594), Asola (1528/29-1609), Vecchi (c.1550-1604). Of course in this Missa pro Defunctis, Anerio made widespread use of the plainchant in a variety of forms. Contrary to his Flemish colleagues only sizable proportions are written in homophonic style or even chordal style ( Second part of the Introit, most of the Sequence, parts of the Offertory, Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei and parts of the Libera me). A smaller part is written in a modest polyphonically way. Most of the movements are written for four voices (SATB). The Sequence is written for alternating use. The strophe with the odd numbers will be performed uni sono with the Plainchant. The straight numbers will be sung by several varied voices, SATB, ATTB, SSAT. The last strophe ‘Pie Jesu’ is set as a conclusion for five voices SATTB. The same Anerio did in the Agnus Dei III, here with a full cantus firmus in Tenor II. The Versicle ‘Hostias’ of the Offertory is set for ATB. But in the Responsory ‘Libera me’ Anerio has chosen for the Versicles respectively the setting ATB, SAT and SATB. This Missa pro Defunctis first appeared in a collection of Anerio’s Masses for four, five and six voices printed in Rome in 1614 by Giovanni Battista Robletti. Anerio omitted the Gradual and Tractus which since 1570 is even part of the office of the Dead. Of course all the Missa pro Defunctis composed in the Renaissance period I saw are works written with deep devotion and painful hope, but in music terms they seems unbeatable most impressive.
Author:Wim Goossens