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Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
1525 - 1594
Italy
Picture
G.P. da Palestrina
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (17/12/1525 - 02/02/1594), an Italian composer, from Palestrina. He was a pupil of Mallapert and Firmin Lebel at St. Maria Maggiore, Rome, where he was a choirboy from at least 1537. He became organist of St. Agapito, Palestrina, in 1544 and in 1547 married Lucrezia Gori there; they had three children. After the Bishop of Palestrina's election as pope (Julius III) he was appointed maestro di cappella of the Cappella Giulia in Rome (1551), where he issued his first works (masses, 1554); during 1555 he also sang in the Cappella Sistina. Two of Rome's greatest churches then procured him as maestro di cappella, St. John Lateran (1555-60) and St. Maria Maggiore (1561-6), and in 1564 Cardinal Ippolito d'Este engaged him to oversee the music at his Tivoli estate. From 1566 he also taught music at the Seminario Romano, before returning to the Cappella Giulia as maestro in 1571.
During the 1560s and 1570s Palestrina's fame and influence rapidly increased through the wide diffusion of his published works. So great was his reputation that in 1577 he was asked to rewrite the church's main plainchant books, following the Cuoncil of Trent's guidelines. His most famous mass, Missa Papae Marcelli, may have been composed to satisty the council's requirements for musical cogency and textual intelligibility. He was always in tune with the Counter-Reformation spirit; after his wife's death in 1580 he considered taking holy orders, but instead he remarried (1581). His wife, Virginia Dormoli, was a wealthy fur merchant's widow; his investments in her business eased his financial strains, and his last years at St. Peter's were among his most productive.
Palestrina ranks with Lassus and Byrd as one of the greatest Renaissance masters. A prolific composer of masses, motets and other sacred works, as well as madrigals, he was (unlike Lassus) basically conservative. In his sacred music he assimilated and refined his predecessors' polyphonic techniques to produce a 'seamless' texture, with all voices perfectly balanced. The nobility and restraint of his most expressive works established the almost legendary reverence that has long surrounded his name and helped set him up as the classic model of Renaissance polyphony.
Source:The new Grove dictionary of music and musicians
Domine, secundum actum meum I
Period:High Renaissance
Musical form:Motet à 4 vocibus aequalium
Text/libretto:Latin from a Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum
Domine, secundum actum meum is a plainchant from the Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum Ad Matutinum but composed by Palestrina for four lower voices (AAAT or TTBB). The Domine, secundum actum meum is an old Responsorium,/Respond defunctorum and still published in the old Liber Usualis page 1798 and is sung after Lectio VIII Ad Matutinem. The Domine, secundum actum meum is written in a modest imitative polyphonic counterpoint and it consists out of 65 bars. This motet is due to the chosen lower voices dark coloured. Tenor starts, followed by Altus II, Altus III and Altus I. In this work Palestirna uses the Roman version of the Respond in omitting the belonging Verse (placed between brackets []) like we saw by Lassus (1532-1594) and uses extra sharps in giving more accents. This motet was unpublished until 1891 – a lot of his works has been described by ALFIERI, THE ABBATE PIETRO - and the motet is stored in the library of the Roman College (Collegio romano).
Author:Wim Goossens
Responsorium Text:
R. Domine, secundum actum meum noli me iudicare,
nihil dignum in conspectu tuo egi.
Ideo deprecor maiestatem tuam,
tu tu Deus deleas iniquitatem meam.
[V: Amplius lava me, Domine,
ab iniustitata mea,
et a delicto meo munda me.]

Translation Respond:
Lord do not judge me after my deeds;
I have done nothing worthy in your eyes.
here fore I beseech.
You in Your majesty to deliver me from my sins
[V: Wash me Lord from my iniquity; and clean me of my sins.]
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Ne recorderis
Period:High Renaissance
Musical form:Motet à 4 vocibus aequalium
Text/libretto:Latin from a Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum
The “Ne recorderis” is the last plainchant Responsorium from de Officium Defunctorum Ad Matutinum in secundo nocturno. This motet is set by Palestrina for four voices (AAAT or TTBB). The “Ne recorderis” is an old Responsorium/Respond and still published in the old Liber Usualis page 1792 and is sung after Lectio VI in the Office of the Dead at Matins. Palestrina designated in the head of the score “In Missa Defunctorum”. The Ne recorderis is written in a modest imitative polyphonic counterpoint and it consists out of 70 bars. This motet is due to the chosen lower voices dark coloured. Altus II starts, followed by Altus IIII, Tenor and Altus I. In this work Palestirna uses the Roman version he repeated - which was usual - part of the Respond but omitted the Verse Requiem aeternam dona eisDomine et lux perpetua luceat eis which was in use as a closure of a Nocturno. This motet was unpublished until 1891 – a lot of his works has been described by ALFIERI, THE ABBATE PIETRO - and the motet is stored in the library of the Roman College (Collegio romano).
Author:Wim Goossens
Text Responsorium:
R. Ne recorderis peccata mea, Domine,
Dum veneris judicare saeculum per ignem.
V. Dirige, Domine Deus meus,
In conspectu tuo viam meam.
R. Dum veneris judicare saeculum per ignem.

Translation:
R. Remember not O Lord my sins,
whilst thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.
V. Direct O Lord my God
my way in thy sight.
R. Whilst thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Libera me Domine de morte I
Period:High Renaissance
Musical form:Motet a 4 vocibus inaequales
Text/libretto:Latin from the Exsequiarum Ordo de Officium Defunctorum
Duration:13’22”
Label(s):ECM 1653
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 more (4) plain-chant variations known) is an old Responsorium out of the In Exsequiis and sung in the part Absolutio super tulum and is published in the old Liber Usualis pages 1763 – 1771. But following the text Palestrina uses the Roman text version page 1767/68 of the old Liber Usualis. This very large and moving motet Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna – in exsequiis – by Palestrina is written in an imitative polyphonic counterpoint – with some homophonic phrases - in general for four voices (CATB) alternated with the prescribed plainchant. Besides that Palestrina vary per verse the voices. This total Respond consists out of 163 bars. But Palestrina uses all repetitions in his score which is normal in the Roman rite. Palestrina uses polyphonic imitative style. We are very humble to hear and see such emotional music, written within the lines of the prescribed ritual habit of the Requiem liturgy in Rome, where the words are leading.. The “Libera me” is set for four voices (CATB), the following sentence “Dum veneris” is unisono plainchant. The next following whole verse “Tremens factus sum” is set for (CAT). The repeated “quando coeli” is for the second time now used in unisono plainchant. The verse “Dies illa, dies irae” is set for the lower voices (ATB), hereafter is repeated the “Dum veneris” in unisono plainchant. The following verse is the “Requiem aeternam” set for (CATB), followed by the repetition of the “Libera me” (CATB) up to “Tremens”. The last part of this momentum in the services for the Dead is the Kyrië set for four voices (CATB), Christe is set for three voices (CAT) and the last Kyrië is set for four voices (CATB) where the Cantus reaches the highest note (C) in this total motet, with as from bar 160 on some moving modulations. This respond is very long but full in accordance with the Gregorian tradition. In all the Latin settings we see and hear the moving settings by Palestrina in a piece of dignity and listen carefully to the closing Kyrië eleison. Of course nearly all Requiem music is written “Ad maiorem Dei gloriam” but the skill of each composer shows his capacities even in the music for the Office of the Dead. This work appears for the first time in 1892 (Haberl, Book XXXI) chosen out of the Codex 59, fol. 92 aequ. Autogr. Preanestini, Lateran Basilica, Rome.
Author:Wim Goossens
Text Responsorium:
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 discussio venerit, atque ventura ira. Quando caeli movendi sunt et terra.
V. Dies irae, dies illa, calamitatis et miseriae, dies magna et amara valde.
V. Requiem aeternam, dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis.
R. Quando coeli movendi sunt et terra.
Pr. Kyrië eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrië eleison.

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 made to tremble, and I fear, when the desolation shall come,
and also the coming wrath.
V. That day, the day of wrath, calamity, and misery, that terrible
and exceedingly bitter day.
R .When the heavens and the earth are moved.
Pr. Lord, have mercy on us, Christ, have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us.
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Libera me Domine de morte II
Period:High Renaissance
Musical form:Motet a 4 vocibus inaequales
Text/libretto:Latin from the Exsequiarum Ordo de Officium Defunctorum
Duration:11'
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 more (4) plain-chant variations known) is an old Responsorium out of the In Exsequiis and sung in the part Absolutio super tulum and is published in the old Liber Usualis pages 1763 – 1771. But following the text Palestrina uses the Roman text version page 1767/68 of the old Liber Usualis. This very large and moving motet Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna – in exsequiis – by Palestrina is written in an imitative polyphonic counterpoint – with some homophonic phrases - in general for four voices (CATB) alternated with the prescribed plainchant. Besides that Palestrina vary per verse the voices. This total Respond consists out of 135 bars. But Palestrina uses all repetitions in his score which is normal in the Roman rite. Palestrina uses polyphonic imitative style. In this case too we are very humble to hear and see such emotional music, written within the lines of the prescribed ritual habit of the Requiem liturgy in Rome, where the words are leading This second version of “Libera me” is set for four voices (CATB), the following sentence “Dum veneris” is unisono plainchant. The next following whole verse “Tremens factus sum” is set for lower voices (ATB)). The repeated “quando coeli” is for the second time now used in unisono plainchant. The verse “Dies illa, dies irae” is set for (CAT), hereafter is repeated the “Dum veneris” in unisono plainchant.. The following verse is the “Requiem aeternam” set for (CATB), followed by the repetition of the “Libera me” (CATB) up to “Tremens”. The last part of this momentum in the services for the Dead is the Kyrië set for four voices (CATB), Christe is set unisono in plainchant and the last Kyrië is set for four voices (CATB) where the Cantus reaches too the highest note (C) in this total motet. This respond is not as long as the first mentioned one, but in full accordance with the Gregorian tradition. In all the Latin settings we see and hear the moving settings by Palestrina in a piece of dignity and listen carefully to the closing Kyrië eleison. Of course nearly all Requiem music is written “Ad maiorem Dei gloriam” but the skill of each composer shows his capacities even in the music for the Office of the Dead. This work appears for the first time in 1892 (Haberl, Book XXXI) chosen out of the Codex 219, fol. 49 Jo. Petri Aloysi Preanestini, Vatican, Rome.
Author:Wim Goossens
Text Responsorium:
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 discussio venerit, atque ventura ira. Quando caeli movendi sunt et terra.
V. Dies irae, dies illa, calamitatis et miseriae, dies magna et amara valde.
V. Requiem aeternam, dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis.
R. Quando coeli movendi sunt et terra.
Pr. Kyrië eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrië eleison.

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 made to tremble, and I fear, when the desolation shall come,
and also the coming wrath.
V. That day, the day of wrath, calamity, and misery, that terrible
and exceedingly bitter day.
R .When the heavens and the earth are moved.
Pr. Lord, have mercy on us, Christ, have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us.
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Libera me Domine de morte III
Period:High Renaissance
Musical form:Motet a 5 vocibus inaequales
Text/libretto:Latin from the Exsequiarum Ordo de Officium Defunctorum
Duration:11'15''
Text Responsorium:
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 discussio venerit, atque ventura ira. Quando caeli movendi sunt et terra.
V. Dies irae, dies illa, calamitatis et miseriae, dies magna et amara valde.
V. Requiem aeternam, dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis.
R. Quando coeli movendi sunt et terra.
Pr. Kyrië eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrië eleison.

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 made to tremble, and I fear, when the desolation shall come,
and also the coming wrath.
V. That day, the day of wrath, calamity, and misery, that terrible
and exceedingly bitter day.
R .When the heavens and the earth are moved.
Pr. Lord, have mercy on us, Christ, have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us.
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 more (4) plain-chant variations known) is an old Responsorium out of the In Exsequiis and sung in the part Absolutio super tulum and is published in the old Liber Usualis pages 1763 – 1771. But following the text Palestrina? uses the Roman text version page 1767/68 of the old Liber Usualis. Out of the sources ( Biblioteca Licci Bononiae) seams Palestrina sets this Libera me de morte. But Haberl in 1892 is very doubtful and places a mark – opera dubia - by the authorship of Palestrina of this motet Libera me de morte a5. Nevertheless Haberl states this Libera me is composed in the 16th century. Seen the publication by Haberl in the 32rd volume we will treat this motet here as a motet by Palestrina. This very large and moving motet Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna – in exsequiis - is written in an imitative polyphonic counterpoint – with some homophonic phrases, Requiem and Kyrië - in general for five voices (CATTB) alternated with the prescribed plainchant. Beside that the composer vary per verse the number of voices. The total Respond consists out of 144 bars. But the perhaps unknown composer uses all repetitions in his score which is normal in the Roman rite. This composer uses more polyphonic imitative style, compared to version I and II. This third version of “Libera me de Morte III” is set for five voices (CATTB) – so with three lower voices - the following sentence “Dum veneris” is unisono plainchant. The next following whole verse “Tremens factus sum” is set for four lower voices (ATTB)). The repeated “quando coeli” is for the second time unisono plainchant. The verse “Dies illa dies irae” is set for (CATT), hereafter is repeated the “Dum veneris” in unisono plainchant. The following verse is the “Requiem aeternam” set for (CATTB), it starts with a full homophonic phrase, followed by the repetition of the “Libera me” (CATTB) up to “Tremens”. The last part of this momentum in the services for the Dead is the Kyrië set for five voices (CATTB), Christe is used unisono in plainchant and the last Kyrië is again set for five voices (CATTB). This respond is in full accordance with the Gregorian tradition. In all this Latin settings we see and hear the moving settings by this composer in a piece of dignity. Listen carefully to the closing Kyrië eleison at each of the three Libere me Domine we here mentioned. It’s very imposing music in which the wording prevails. Why? In fact it is the last petition the last pleading of mercy and forgiveness over the deceased. Here but too in the whole Respond the skill of this composer – which one - shows his capacities even in the music for the Office of the Dead. This work appears for the first time in 1892 (Haberl, Book XXXII) chosen out of Biblioteca Licci Bononiae, Bologna.
Author:Wim Goossens
Missa pro defunctis
Period:High Renaissance
Composed in:1554
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
Duration:16'26''
Label(s):Elektra/Asylum 94561
Teldec 4509-94561-2
EWC 0927496192
Teldec 943341
Palestrina's Requiem is scored for 5 voices ATBBB. It contains:
- Kyrie 2’10”
- Offertorium, Domine Jesu Christe 4’56”
- Sanctus
- Benedictus 4’04”
- Agnus Dei I
- Agnus Dei II
- Agnus Dei III 5’16”
Author:Wim Goossens
Palestrina's Missa pro defunctis (requiem mass), for five voices, and set for ATTTB was published in the Missarum liber primus, for 4-6 vv. (Rome, 1591), the same as 1554's first edition, but with one more mass added.
Palestrina’s only requiem belongs to his lesser known works. Very little is known about it, even the year of its composition is uncertain, however, it seems to have dated from the period in which Palestrina was Maetro di capella in the Capella Giulia (1551-1555). Palestrina set this Missa pro defunctis four five – lower- voices ( ATTTB) This work, like all requiems of the time, is based on the gregorian plainchant, and was written in a certain strict and sober style.
Take for instance the strict canon on the plainchant with which the Kyrie begins quoted in the upper voice Cantus. The Offertory O Domine Jesu Christe and three-part Agnus Dei are worked out with more freedom of expression and greater emotion. Palestrina composed imitative polyphony only for four sections of the Missa pro Defunctis the Kyrie, the Offertorium, the Sanctus, and the Agnus Dei. We don’t know why but Palestrina set this Missa pro Defunctis for the normal use in Liturgy due to the strict rules of the Council of Trente.
It is up to the performers even in that time to supply the remaining plainchant: the Introit: The Requiem the Gradual: Requiem aeternam or Si Ambulem, the Tractus: Sicut Servus, the Sequentia: Dies Irae, the Communion: Lux Aeterna and the responsorium: Libera me. See for the texture the Liber Usualis.
To the Kyrie. The Kyrie is in the traditional three-part form, consisting out of one polyphonic setting Kyrie eleison, one Christe eleison, and one last second Kyrie eleison. Here gives Palestrina the possibility, to alternate with the well-known plainchant Kyrie mode.
In the two Kyrie eleison and the Christe eleison Palestrina quotes the plainchant in the Cantus even sometimes in the Tenor I and Tenor II. In the first Kyrie the plainchant is exactly quoted by the Cantus in the first eight pitches. The Tenor I starts the Christe followed by the other parts with four notes out of the plainchant, where the Cantus quotes the plainchant in four pitches. The second Kyrie begins with a point of imitation in each voice on the striking descending fifth extracted right from the Kyrie plainchant. In Cantus (from pitch 38) and in Tenor II (from bar 43) Palestrina quotes again the belonging plainchant. The total Polyphonic settings consist out of 49 bars.
To the Offertoriuem: The Offertorium -starting with five voices (ATTTB)- is based on the well-known text Domine Jesu Christe and set in imitative polyphonic way. To underline the text “Ne absorbeat” (bars 38 – 42) ) is set in a homophonic way. From bar/pitch (71) the “Hostias et preces” is set for four voices (ATTT) and will be followed by the great closure “Quam Olim Abrahae” set again for five voices (ATTTB). See in this last part the imposing pleading quotations “Quam Olim Abrahae” in successive voices Altus (b. 106), Tenor I (b 109), Bassus (b. 111) and Tenor II (b. 112) in which Palestrina puts his great musical weight to underline the wording “to offer new life to the passed away which was promised to Abraham” ending this Offertorium in a hopeful G major. This total Offertorium setting consists out of 120 bars.
To the Sanctus & Beneditcus: Palestrina starts the Sanctus, by a simple but very subtle change of the traditional start of the Sanctus plainchant, in not using the descending major second between the second and third note of the plainchant but instead changed by Palestrina to a much more affected minor second here from A to G sharp. Even in the Bassus and the Altus/Tenor Palestrina uses there the minor second from D tot C sharp.
From bar/pitch 29 we see some quotation of the plainchant in the Cantus more specific followed by the belonging plainchant in Tenor II from bar 28 (pleni sunt coeli ) up to the end.
The Benedictus starts subtle in all voices with the three well known ascending notes (F,G,A) but in the Altus (C,D,E). As we already saw in the Sanctus, again the first part of the plainchant is set by Palesrtina in the Cantus (bar 57-61) followed by Tenor II (bar72 up to the end). Both in Sanctus and Benedictus Palestrina uses imitative polyphonic style. To the Agnus Dei: In the Agnus Dei Palestrina starts the three separate settings of the Agnus Dei texture with a minor second (for example from G to F-sharp) which Palestrina already has been used in the Sanctus. Here in the Agnus Dei Palestrina uses the minor second in three different ways.
Agnus Dei I compared tot II/III, is though quite distinct from the two others internally. In Agnus Dei I Palestrina uses more flats and sharps to express his feeling. See for instance in Agnus Dei I bar 14 with some fine dissonant chords. The total Agnus Dei consists out of 92 bars.
Through the texture we hear some minor quotations of the belonging plainchant but here in the Agnus Dei we hear the craftsman, that genius of Giovanni Palestrina at work.
This Missa pro defunctis was published in Missarum cum quator, quinque ac sex vocibus liber primus, Gardane, Roma, 1591.
Author:Wim Goossens
Peccantem me quotidie
Period:High Renaissance
Composed in:1572
Musical form:motet
Text/libretto:Latin
Duration:4'38''
Label(s):CDA 67099
Naxos 553314 /1995
Decca 4487162
This motet à 5 vocibus is written to a Responsorium taken out of the Officium defunctorum more specific Ad matinum and is written for five voices SATTB. The Peccantem me quotidie was published in the Motetti II per 5, 6 & 8 vocibus, Venice 1575.
Author:Wim Goossens
Heu mihi Domine
Period:High Renaissance
Composed in:1581
Musical form:motet
Text/libretto:Latin
Duration:6'59''
Label(s):ECM 4578512/ 1997
This motet à 4 vocibus is written to a Responsorium taken out of the Officium defunctorum more specific Ad matinum and is written for four voices ATTB. The motet Heu mihi Domine was published in the Motetti II per 4 vocibus, Rome 1590.
Author:Wim Goossens
The text of this motet:

Heu 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.
Anima mea turbata est valde sed tu Domine succurre ei:
miserere mei dum veneris in novissimo die.

Translation:
Woe is me, Lord, for I have sinned greatly.
What shall become of me, wretch that I am;
where shall I flee, except to Thee, O Lord.
Have mercy on me when Thou shalt come on the last day.
My soul is greatly troubled but Thou, O Lord, sustainest me:
have mercy on me when Thou shalt come on the last day.
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Domine quando veneris
Period:High Renaissance
Composed in:1581
Musical form:motet
Text/libretto:Latin
Duration:5'41''
Label(s):ECM 4578512/ 1997
This music is written to a Responsorium taken out of the Officium defunctorum more specific Ad matinum and is written for four voices SATB. The motet Domine quando veneris was published in the Motetti II per 4 vocibus, Rome 1590.
Author:Wim Goossens
The text of this motet:

Domine quando veneris judicare terram,
ubi me abscondam a vultu irae tuae?
Quia peccavi nimis in vita mea.
Commissa mea pavesco, et ante te erubesco:
dum veneris judicare noli me condemnare.
Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine:
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Translation:

O Lord, when Thou shalt come to judge the earth,
where shall I hide from the face of Thy wrath?
For I have sinned greatly.
I dread my judgement and I am ashamed before Thee.
When Thou shalt come to judgement do not condemn me.
Grant them eternal rest, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Domine, secundum actum meum II
Period:High Renaissance
Composed in:1584
Musical form:Motet à 5 vocibus inaequalium
Text/libretto:Latin from a Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum
Domine, secundum actum meum a5 is a plainchant from the Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum Ad Matutinum but composed by Palestrina for five voices (CATTB). The Domine, secundum actum meum is an old Responsorium, Respond defunctorum and still published in the old Liber Usualis page 1798 and is sung after Lectio VIII Ad Matutinem. This Domine, secundum actum meum is seen the five voices written in a more rich imitative polyphonic counterpoint and it consists out of 72 bars. This motet is not as dark coloured as the four voices setting mentioned above but nevertheless Palestrina uses CATTB in stead of CCATB which is more common in the pieces/motets in his Liber Quintus. So Palestrina uses three lower voices. The Altus starts, followed by Cantus, Tenor II, Bassus and Tenor I. In this work Palestirna uses the Roman version of the Respond in omitting the belonging Verse (placed between brackets []) like we saw by Lassus (1532-1594) and uses extra sharps and flats in giving more accents. Due to the five voices the motet is written in a more great but austere style. This motet was published in 1584 in motettorum liber quintus, Gardane, Rome 1584b.
Author:Wim Goossens
Responsorium Text:
R. Domine, secundum actum meum noli me iudicare,
nihil dignum in conspectu tuo egi.
Ideo deprecor maiestatem tuam,
tu tu Deus deleas iniquitatem meam.
[V: Amplius lava me, Domine,
ab iniustitata mea,
et a delicto meo munda me.]

Translation Respond:
R. Lord do not judge me after my deeds;
I have done nothing worthy in your eyes.
here fore I beseech.
You in Your majesty to deliver me from my sins
[V: Wash me Lord from my iniquity; and clean me of my sins.]
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Paucitas dierum
Period:High Renaissance
Composed in:1584
Musical form:Motet à 5 vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin from a Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum
Duration:5’07”
Label(s):Acante 40.21.841
This ‘Paucitas dierum’ is an old Responsorium, Responsory and this is an interesting one. There are about 138 Responsoria de Officium Defunctorum, Responds from Office of the Dead known and used during centuries in the Office of the Dead. They are all well ordered, this is number 67. The second part from bar 54 of this responsorium is “Manus tuae” the Versicle following and belonging to this Respond. The Versicle “Manus tuae” number 59 is used in the Office of the Dead. It is known the use of Responds and Versicles of The Office of the Dead vary per region all over Europe. In general the text of this total Responsorium is coming out of the Book Job. Since the ninth century this Respond Paucitas dierum out of the Ambrosian Office of the dead is sung after Reading V whereby a part of the reading is repeated in this respond and even known in the Psalterium per decadas (Biblioteca Vaticana). The present text of this respond is in according with the old sources in St. Benoit-sur-Loire. But it is quite uncertain whether this text comes out the North-Italian or Ambrosian sources. Referring to Knud Ottosen book it’s interesting to see Palestrina did not use the text in use in Italy but used in sources outside Italy! He uses in the middle of the first sentence “dimitte me domine sine” instead of “relaxa ergo mihi Domine.” The same use of the text we saw in the settings of Paucitas dierum by Francisco de Torre (c.1460-1504). Why Palestrina uses this text eighty years later we can only guess! This motet is written by Palestrina for five voices (CATTB) and the highest note is d4. Palestrina uses imitative polyphonic style. The first movement – Paucitas dierum - starts with Cantus, followed by Altus, Tenor I, Bassus and Tenor II. In every part of this movement Palestrina starts with ‘a’ followed by b-flat or ‘d’ followed by e-flat. And that’s sounds as a very impressive moving start of this motet. This first part counts 53 bars and is not as lively as the second part – Manus tuae Domine - which starts with Bassus, followed by Tenor II, Altus, Cantus and Tenor I. Here in the second part Palestrina uses some word painting with sixteenth notes in Domine (Bassus and Altus, bars 56 and 60) and in circuitu (Cantus & Bassus and Altus & Tenor I together, bars 79 and 80) and more specific the here underlined parts of the text. This second movement counts 47 bars (54-110) and from bar 88 Palestrina repeats the prescribed part of the Respond from “Antequam vadam”, which is normal. In the total motet Palestrina uses some flats and fine dissonant to express his mourning feelings. This motet was published in Motettorum quinque vocibus liber quintus, Gardane, Roma, 1584.
Author:Wim Goossens
Text of the Responsorium:
R. Paucitas dierum meorum finitur: dimitte me, domine sine plangam paululum dolorem meum. Antequam vadam ad terram tenebrosam et opertam mortis caligine.
V. Manus tuae Domine fecerunt me, et plasmaverunt me totum in circuitu: et sic repente praecipitas me?
R. Antequam vadam ad terram tenebrosam et opertam mortis caligine.

Translation:
R. Are not my days few? cease then, And let me alone, that I may take comfort a little.
Before I go - and I shall not return - to the land of darkness and of the shadow of the death.
V. Thy hands, O Lord, have made me, and fashioned me together round about ; and yet dost thou forthwith destroy me?
R. Before I go--and I shall not return-- to the land of darkness and of the shadow of the death.
Contributor:Wim Goossens