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Aires Fernandez
16th - 17th century
Portugal
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A. Fernandez
About Aires Fernandez (Fernández) (flourished 1590), far nothing is known about this Portuguese renaissance composer who lived at the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century. Nearly all surviving works by Fernandez have been found in the manuscripts from the Royal Monastery of Santa Cruz in Coimbra and now preserved in Coimbra University Library. They contain besides work imported from other countries works from composers who worked at the Monastery at Santa Cruz or its sister house in Lisbon.
Author:Wim Goossens
Circumdederunt me doloris mortis
Period:High Renaissance
Musical form:Motet a 6 vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin from Officium Defunctorum
Duration:2’45”
Label(s):CDA 66735
Cl 0271
Text:
R. Circumdederunt me dolores mortis; Dolores inferni circumdederunt me.
V. Praeocupaverunt me laqui mortis.

Translation:
R. The anguish of death surrounds me; the pains of hell are around me.
V. The snares of death have captured me.
Contributor:Wim Goossens
This Antiphon “Circumdederunt me” is used in the Officium Defunctorum ad Matutinum and set by the far unknown Portuguese Aires Fernández for six voices (SAATTB). The Circumdederunt is often especially used by Spanish and Portuguese composers in the Office of the Dead like Cristobal de Morales (c.1500-1553), Pedro Fernandez (1483-1547), Aires Fernandez (16th C.), Juan de Avila ( 16th C.), Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla (c.1590-1664), Bartolomeo Trosylho (1500-1567), Hernando Franco (1532-1585), Sebastian de Vivanco (c.1551-1622), the German Balthasar de Senarius (c.1485-1544) and even Orlando di Lasso (1532-1594), Jacob Regnart (1540-1599) and William Byrd (1543-1623) did. As we saw this Antiphon is set by them all as an invitatory Antiphon for the Office of the Dead. On the other hand the interesting plainchant Circumdederunt is often used in chansons, motets, parody masses and even used in the splendid Requiem Mass by the Jean Richafort (c.1480-c.1547)a composer belonging to the third Netherlandish generation. Further more a “Circumdederunt me” is on the other hand the Introit out of the liturgy of Septuagint/Septuagesima. But the text used in that plainchant differs from the wording used by the mentioned composers and in this case Fernandez. This Antiphon is chosen by Aires Fernándeze as an invitatory antiphon (Motet) used at Matins of the Dead or at the Office of the Dead. This motet “Circumdederunt me” is written in an vast polyphonic imitative flowing style, starting by Tenor, followed by Superior, Bassus, Altus. Fernández uses word-painting in two homophonic phrases “Dolores inferni” followed by a moving dissonant in “circumdederunt me” in strong contrast with the treatment of those words at the beginning of this expressive motet. As often all the expression is at the end “laqui mortis” ending in a hopeful major-tune.
Author:Wim Goossens
Libera me, Domine de morte
Period:High Renaissance
Musical form:Motet a 5 vocibus inaequales
Text/libretto:Latin from the Exsequiarum Ordo de Officium Defunctorum
Duration:8'34”
Label(s):HAVPCD 155
Text:
R. Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna in die illa tremenda quando coeli movendi sunt et terra dum veneris judicare saeculum per ignem.
V. Tremens factus sum ego et timeo, dum discussion venerit atque venture ira: quando coeli movendi sunt et terra.
V. Dies irae, dies illa, calamitatis et miseriae, dies magna et amara valde.
R. Dum veneris judicare saeculum per ignem.
V. Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine et lux perpetua luceat eis.
R. Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna in die illa tremenda.
Kyrië eleison,
Christe eleison,
Kyrië eleison.
Requiescat in pace.

Translation:
R. Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death, on that fearful day, when the heavens and the earth are moved, when you will come to judge the world through fire.
V. I am seized with fear and trembling, until the trial is at hand and the wrath to come: when the heavens and earth shall be shaken.
V. That day, the day of wrath, calamity, and misery, that terrible, and exceedingly bitter day. R. When you will come to judge the world through fire.
V. Eternal rest give unto them, Lord and may over lasting light shine upon them.
R. Deliver me, Lord and may over lasting light shine upon them.
O Lord have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
Lord have mercy.
May they rest in peace.
Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord
Contributor:Wim Goossens
The ”Libera me, Domine de morte” is in general a plainchant from the Exsequiarum Ordo more specific a Responsorium sung during the final blessing of the coffin on its catafalque. This Libera me (there are four (4) plain-chant variations known) is an old Responsorium and sung in the part Absolutio super tulum and is published in the old Liber Usualis pages 1767 – 1768. Following the text Fernandez uses the normal published text version as mentioned above. This large motet “Libera me, Domine de morte aeterna” is written by Fernadez in short polyphonic settings for among others three voices up to five voices (SATTB) alternated with the known plainchant of this Respond. Fernandez uses polyphonic style in this “Libera me” but in a homophonic way set in different part-combinations. This Responsorium is long and in accordance with the Gregorian tradition part of the Respond in this case parts of the Repond “Dum veneris judicare saeculum per ignem “ and later on into the Repetitur “Libera me Domine de morte aeterna in die illa tremenda” is repeated, so did Fernandez. But in the performance on the CD is omitted the repeating of “quando coeli” up to “tremens” which is not normal in the plainchant, besides Fernandez set this part of the Respond. In this moving music Fernandez paints subtle in short items the horrors and pains of the final Judgment Day. This Respond is directly followed by a three fold Kyrië eleison in homophonic style alternated with the belonging plainchant. With an introvert deep moving homophonic “Requiescat in pace” ends this “Libera me, Domine de morte”. Nearly all manuscipts by Fernandez have been found in the Royal Monastery of Santa Cruz in Coimbra and now preserved in Coimbra University Library.
Author:Wim Goossens