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Franciscus Bianciardus
c.1572 - 1607
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F. Bianciardus
Franciscus Bianciardus - Aliases: Biaciartus, Bianchardus, Bianchiardu, Biancardi - (ca.1572 - 1607), an Italian organist and composer of motets, psalms and madrigals. He was organist, and he was about June 1597 maestro di cappella of Siena Cathedral. The Breve regola published after his death is a useful source for the early practice of thoroughbass.
Author:Wim Goossens
Hei Mihi, Domine
Period:Late Renaissance
Musical form:Motet ŕ 8 vocibus inaequalium
Text/libretto:Latin out of de Officium Defunctorum
“Hei mihi Domine” is a plainchant from the Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum, Ad Matutinum. The “Hei mihi, Domine” is an old Responsorium, a Respond which is published in the old Liber Usualis page 1791 and is sung after Lectio V in the secund Nocturn. See the text part and the references below. The choice of texts and the order in which the Responds normally occur in the sources as we saw in the Renaissance period vary according to local uses. Bianciardus uses in this case the general version. But he did’n’t use the belonging Versicle.
In this case the composer Franciscus Bianciardus set this Respond “Heu mihi Domine” for eight lower voices divided into two choirs (ATTB-ATTB). Bianciardius set this motet generally in homophonic polychoral venetian style. Bianciardus starts with chorus primus and chorus secundus answers nearly in the same musical texture.
In ‘in vita mea’ bar 21 the two choirs sing for the first time in this piece in a homophonic way together with a closure in A-major. Choir two is in the lead in bar 30 with ‘ubi fugiam” and the answer is from choir one culminating the choirs for the second time in ‘nisi ad te Deus meus’ ending in D-major. Choir two starts with ‘miserere mei’ (bar 38) in an austere sphere and from bar 40, similar slightly contrasting chords are in it to underline that humble words and from bar 47 the choirs close together with a ‘dum veneris in novissimo dei’ ending in a full and imposing E- major chord (bar 50). The general impression in this piece is the different rhythmic phrases Bianciardus uses to express his feelings and to differ from the homophonic texture and even to underline some words in word-painting, see for instance ‘ ín vita’, ‘ubi fugiam’ and ‘novissimo die’. It is interesting to see that in the published Promptuarii musici, sacras harmonias sive motetas V. VI. VII. & VIII vocum, e diversis...autoribus, antehac nunquam in Germania editis... . Collectore Abrahamo Schadaeo...Cui basin vulgo generalem dictam & ad organa, musicaque instrumenta accomodatam, singulari industria addidit Caspar Vincentus... (Argentinć : Typis Caroli Kiefferi, Sumptibus Pauli Ledertz, 1611, 1612, 1613) we found more polychoral Requiem settings from different composers and that’s for us the first time to meet this great polychoral style in the Respond-settings, which will be successively published here on this Requiem-site.
The editor the Sorb Abraham Skoda (Schadäus 1556-1626) was a Lusatian composer and editor in the Bautzen deaconate. It is remarkable that in this edition polychoral Respond settings are available. Perhaps in this region they have had good wind players and other musicians? This Respond ‘Hei mihi Domine’ setting is published in the already mentioned Promptuarii musici, sacras harmonias sive motetas V. VI. VII. & VIII vocum, in 1611.
Author:Wim Goossens
R. Hei mihi, Domine, quia peccavi nimis in vita mea:
quid faciam miser, ubi fugiam, nisi ad te, Deus meus?
Miserere mei, dum veneris in novissimo die.

R. Woe is me, o Lord, for I have sinned exceedingly in my life:
Miserable, what shall I do, to which place shall I flee, if not before Thee, my God?
Have mercy on me when. Thou shalt come at the latter of all days.
Contributor:Wim Goossens