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Pierre de la Rue
1460 - 1518
France / Belgium
No picture
P. de la Rue
Pierre de la Rue -also Pierre de LaRue- (1460 - 20/11/1518), a Franco-Flemish composer (born in Tournai(?). One of Josquin Desprez' leading contemporaries, Pierre de la Rue wrote some 31 masses, seven mass sections, 37 motets and 37 chansons. He was not so much affected by his visits to Italy as were other northerners of his generation, preferring a rigorously contrapuntal style with individuality of melodic line to the chordal, declamatory manner, and making quite frequent use of canon and ostinato.
Source:Riemann Musik Lexikon and http://www.hoasm.org/IVA/delaRue.html
Pierre de La Rue (c.1452-1518) belonging to the third generation of Netherlands composers was the leading composer at the court of Burgundy in Brussels and Malines during the golden age of Netherlands polyphony. De la Rue was probably around 1452 born at Tournai and if so educated at the Notre-Dame Cathedral there. While no records remain of his youth, De la Rue was mentioned as an adult-singer in the archives of the cathedral of Ste Goedele in Brussels in 1469-1470. In 1471 Pierre de la Rue was in Ghent at the Jacobskerk. Subsequently he was employed in Nieuwpoort, Onze Lieve Vrouwe Kerk, Notre Dame Church (from 1472 to around 1477), Cologne (ending in 1489), and Cambrai, as well as one location called "St Ode" (date and city not known). Pierre de La Rue probably never went to Italy, making him one of the few prominent Netherlands composers of this generation never to travel there. From1489 tot 1492 De la Rue joined and belonged as choirmaster to the Illustrious Confraternity of our Lady at ‘s-Hertogenbosch called in Dutch “Illustre Lieve Vrouwe Broederschap”. By 1492, Pierre de la Rue joined the Burgundian Imperial chapel of the Habsburgs, first serving under Maximilian I and then under Philip the Fair who suddenly died in 1506 and later from 1507 serving under Margaret of Austria, governess of the Netherlands in Brussels and Malines as regent and on behalf of her father guardian of Charles V until her death in 1530. Margaret’s husband Duke Philibert II of Savoy died in 1504. De la Rue visited Spain twice with Philip the Fair, and was forced to spend a few months in England in 1506. In Spain he met Juan Anchieta (1462-1523) and the Netherlands Josquin (1440-1521), Isaac (c.1450-1517) and Antoine de Févin (c.1470-1511/12). In 1501 he was appointed canon at the church of Notre Dame in Courtrai. In 1516, he retired to Courtrai as a wealthiest composer. Pierre de la Rue wrote 31 Masses, 7 Mass-fragments survived, 8 Magnificat (Magnificat-cycle), 32 motets and 37 chansons. De la Rue dominates the Burgundian manuscripts of that period, in both sacred & secular music and he was one of the most prolific composers of the period. Pierre de la Rue was following the work and style of Obrecht (1457/58-1505) and Josquin. November the 20th 1518 he passed away in Courtrai, Kortrijk.
Author:Wim Goossens
Missa pro fidelibus defunctis
Period:Early Renaissance
Composed in:1503c
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
Label(s):Accord 723722158827
Gaudeamus CD GAU 352
His requiem is a work of sombre gravity, exploiting low vocal registers, and his chansons are sober and frequently sad --especially those written under the patronage of the ill-fated Marguerite--with continuous textures and imitative writing.
This requiem contains:
- Introit
- Kyrie
- Sicut cervus: Tract
- Offertory
- Sanctus
- Lux aeterna
- Agnus Dei
Source:booklet of cd Accord 723722158827
Delicta Juventutis
Period:Early Renaissance
Composed in:1506
Musical form:motet
Text/libretto:Latin
Duration:8'10''
In memory of:Philip the Handsome (1478 – 1506)
Label(s):VIR 61392
EMI 7 54082-2
This impressive motet Delicta Juventutis, written by Pierre de la Rue is a very long Lament upon the suddenly mysterious death of Philip the Fair at the 25th September 1506, who was a victim of a violent and degenerative fever of unknown cause. As we already saw composers often wrote laments for their patrons as well as for their teachers. Pierre de la Rue served Maximilian I and later the Duke Philip the Fair from 1492 until his death. As it was in that time the court-composer De la Rue was likely responsible for the music to perform of his patrons funeral services, which in fact took a very long time before the burial was performed. De la Rue composed more motets upon the Death of Philip the Fair as we will see. In this motet De la Rue uses parts out of the second nocturne out of the Officium Defunctorum, Office of the Dead, the Antiphon ”Delicta Juventutis ” which is published in the Liber Usualis page 1788.
This Lament starts with that wording: Delicta juventutis (meae) et ignorantias (meas) eius (quaesumus) ne memineris Domine: Remember not the sins of his youth or his transgressions, my Lord; This phrase and the following sentence of this Lament is even used in Psalm 24 – verse 7 and 8 - and published in the Liber Usualis page 1789. Further De la Rue uses some vulgo texts, formulated on this occasion. Seen that text this lament is an intense prayer for the soul of Philip the Fair. Not only that but there is a text reference to Pilippus, (bars 212 and 213). This motet has four very long imitative duo-passages (bar 1-48; bar 114-151; bar 155-170 and bar 191-212) and De la Rue uses more often expressive style due to the chosen words in this motet. The in between four voices-parts – in homophonic style - give accent and underlining to the text and are well chosen by De la Rue. We mean: “In regnum tuum Domine servum tuum suscipe ( bar 55-62) and some further very significant: intercebat pro eo, have mercy upon him (bar 152-155). But beside interesting is a four voice-part with a paraphrase and reference to the “In paradisum”: et perducant eum (te) in civitatem coelestem (sanctam) Jerusalem (bar 90-113) out of the Exsequiis Ordo, Liber Usualis page 1769. This motet is an one full of tense and sadness. This lament is not published in the famous Libro de coro – written about 1504-1506 on behalf of Philip the Fair and Juana the Mad -, preserved MS 9126 in the Royal Bibliotheca in Brussels but is later edited in Secundus tomus novi operis musici, sex, quinque et quatuor vocum, nunc recens in lucem editus. - Nurnberg, H. Grapheus, oct. 1538.
Author:Wim Goossens
Text: Delicta Juventutis

Prima pars.
Delicta juventutis et ignorantias eius
Quaesumus ne memineris Domine,
Sed secundum misericordiam tuam,
Memor esto illius in gloria claritatis tuae
Aperiantur ei coeli quam promisisti credentibus in regnum tuum, Domine,
Servum tuum suscipe, suscipeas eum, sancto baptismo qui signatus est,
Ut huic militiae, coelestis socius discederet, veniant illi ob vivam sancti angeli.
Dei et perducant eum (te) in cicvitatem coelestem (sanctam) Hierusalem.

Secunda pars.
Suscipias eum gratia tua, o Domine,
In verbo tuo regnum coeleste promissum est
Ad juvet eum is, qui Paulum elegit in vas.
Per mortem Christi, Jesu, in vas electionis, intercebat pro eo.
Is qui in cruce rogavit Deum, ut tolleret peccata gentium,
Oret pro eo is qui latroni pendenti in cruce promisit paradysi gaudia,
Tantum ex gratia, intercedat pro eo. is qui Sanctos Dei
Omnes suo sanguine sanctificavit aeternus propitiator:
Ut PHILIPPUS carne exutus pervenire mereatur
ad gloriam regni coelestis. Amen.
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Picture
Philip the Handsome
(dedicatee)
Plorer, gemier, crier/ Requiem
Period:Early Renaissance
Composed in:1506
Musical form:motet
Text/libretto:Latin and French
Duration:2'10''
In memory of:Philip the Handsome (1478 – 1506)
Label(s):VIR 61392
EMI 7 54082-2
This interesting motet ”Plorer, gemier, crier/ Requiem” written by Pierre de la Rue at the occasion of the death of Philip the Fair in 1506 is written for four voices (CTBB). On that occasion more Laments have been written by Pierre de La Rue, Delicta Juventutis mea and Absalon fili mi. In this motet Plorer, gemier, crier/Requiem the Tenor II and the Bassus – in cantus-firmus - are a paraphrased version of the Introit “Requiem Aeternam” Gregorian plainchant of the Missa pro Defunctis. This work is a mixed-language motet. In the first part of the motet the text is divided in French (Superius and Tenor I) and in Latin (Tenor II and Bassus). The last part - in a 3/2 measure (from bar 33) - is written in an imitative polyphonic way. A part of the text has been unfortunately lost, so the text is incomplete. This last part starts with the French words “Quant la mort”. The total motet contains 51 bars. Pierre de la Rue uses flats and sharps to underline his feelings. It’s a short but very impressive composition, written for low voices given this excellent music of course a sombre effect. This edition has been based upon the manuscript which is found in Florence MS 2439, Biblioteca Del Conservatorio, (called: Basevi codex). This Basevi Codex is written between 1506 and 1514 in the Flemish/Netherlands scriptorium of Brussels and Malines. It was Abraham Basevi who bought this manuscript in the 19th century.
Author:Wim Goossens
Text: Plorer, Gemier, Crier/Requiem

S+T: Plorer, gemier, crier et braire me covinent en grant desplesier.
Quant la mort.
T+B: Requiem eternam dona eis Domine.
Quant la mort.

Translation:
S+T: Weeping, moaning, crying and screaming
Join to me in great discomfort. When Death..
T+B: Give them eternal rest, Lord.
When death…
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Picture
Philip the Handsome
(dedicatee)
Missa pro defunctis
Period:Early Renaissance
Composed in:1506c
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
Duration:29'32''
In memory of:Philip IV, Duke of Burgundy, "the Handsome" (1478–1506)
Label(s):Harmonia Mundi HMC 901296
Kontrapunkt 32001
CDGAU 352
AMONRA 24 & CHR 77268
This Requiem written for 4-5 voices (C)TTBB or (C)TBBB contains:
- Introitus: Requiem aeternam
- Kyrie Christe Kyrie
- Psalmus/Tractus: Sicut cervus
- Offertorium: Domine Jesu Christe
- Sanctus
- Benedictus
- Angus Dei I, II, III
- Communio: Lux aeterna

If we see the original mode of the Requiem by De la Rue (See the edition by Michael Procter 2004) we hear and see a work kept in darkly glowing colours. In general this splendid work breaths rich textures and sombre atmospheres with dark colour due to the use of very deep writing in the Bass up to contra-B-flat in Introitus. Now and then is this dark sphere interrupted by characteristic De la Rue fingerprints in the form of really elegant two voice sections, duo-style. This Requiem mass, more than many others, emphasizes the low registers of men voices, and even the lowest voices themselves.This Missa pro fidelibus defunctis is firmly based on the plainchant melodies of the old Gregorian Missa pro Defunctis in a period the liturgical and musical tradition of a Requiem Mass was not yet unified fixed in the Proper and a Ordinary part. Nevertheless De la Rue composed a complete Requiem plenarium, see the content as stated above here. This version was used in the region of Malines. Probably this Requiem was composed for the Death of Philip the Fair, De la Rue’s patron († 1506). Pierre de la Rue was the favourite court-composer in that time, see for instance three Laments De la Rue composed on occasion of the Death of Philip. The used plainchant by De la Rue provides a basis for the polyphonic composition and is integrated as a soberly paraphrased cantus-firmus in the Tenor part, or in a shared paraphrase between Tenor and Discantus. De la Rue uses in Introitus, Offertorium, Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei and Communio a part of the plainchant to start with, excluded the Kyrie and the Tractus/Psalmus.
In our days the Sicut cervus is no more in use in the Office of the Dead. But many composers used this Proper-section as part of a Requiem-setting, like Johannes Ockeghem (c.1420-1497), Pedro de Escobar (c.1465-aft.1535), Antoine de Févin (1473-1512), Benedictus Appenzeller (c.1480/88-aft.1558). All parts of this Requiem are in principal written for four voices excluded the Kyrie III, Quam Olim Abrahae, Sanctus, Osanna, Agnus Dei I, II, III. These parts are written for five voices. The beginning of the Sicut cervus (bar 1 up to 34) like the beginning of the Offertorium ( bar 1 up to 40) are written in an real elegant way for two voices. In fact a real duo in a De la Rue style. And see at last the middle of the Offertorium after Hostias, the Tu suscipe (bar 77 up to 85) written in the same duo-style.
This Missa pro fidelibus defunctis is among others three times found in the famous Codex of Munich which was carried off by Swedish in 1631 and further edited in other sources like Jena, Thüringer Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek, MS 12, Origin: in Brussels/Malines,1508-1525; Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Cappella Sistina 36, Origin in Brussels/Malines, 1513-1518.
Author:Wim Goossens
His requiem is a work of sombre gravity, exploiting low vocal registers, and his chansons are sober and frequently sad --especially those written under the patronage of the ill-fated Marguerite--with continuous textures and imitative writing.
Picture
Philip the Handsome
(dedicatee)