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Felice Anerio
c.1560 - 1614
Picture Picture
F. Anerio
Felice Anerio (c.1560 - 28/09/1614), an eminent Italian composer; born and died in Rome; brother of Giovanni Anerio (c.1567 - 1630). From 1575 he was for four years a boy-soprano in the Papal Choir, studying under the celebrated master Nanini. His first appointment was as choirmaster of the English College in Rome, and his next a similar one under Cardinal Aldobrandini. In 1594 he succeeded Palestrina as composer to the Papal Choir, a post created specially for Palestrina, and which ceased with Anerio's death. Several of his compositions, e.g. an Adoramus Te, Christe and a Stabat Mater, for three choirs, passed for a long time as Palestrina's work. Anerio's compositions (which are very numerous) are characterized by originality and fine artistic feeling. Many were printed during the period 1585-1622. We may mention First Book of Hymns, Canticles and Motets for eight voices (Venice, 1596), dedicated to Pope Clement VIII, which was followed later by a second volume, Three Books of Spiritual Madrigals for Five Voices, Two Books of Spiritual Concerts for Four Voices. But a large proportion of them exist only in manuscript, and are preserved in various Roman libraries, especially in that of the Roman College.
Contributor:Tassos Dimitriadis (picture)
Missa pro Defunctis
Period:High Renaissance
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
Missa pro Defunctis for four voices and organ.
Felice Anerio set a Missa pro Defunctis. It is uncertain at what time Anerio composed this Missa pro defunctis because of the fact we only know a source of a manuscript copy made between 1843-1858 fol. 229-290, RISM 310000235. Anerio set this Requiem in Rome between 1594-1613. At that time he was composer to the Papal chapel in Rome. The sources out of the Cappella Sistina Rome are not available. We suppose the original manuscript is lost. The 19th century manuscript was part of the famous music collection by Fortunato Santini (1777-1861) an Italian priest, composer and music collector. The Santini-Sammlung/Collection – including ca. 20000 pieces in ca. 4500 manuscripts and ca. 1200 prints – is one of the most extensive and precious sources of Italian sacred music of the 16th – 19th centuries. After WO-II the collection returned and was disposed in the Diözesanarchive at Münster, Germany. A former owner of this manuscript was Skarjatin, Aleksandr Jaovlevič , 1815-1884 who lived and worked in Rome.
At this stage and for our purpose we only examined two parts/movements available out of this Missa pro defunctis by Felice Anerio: the Requiem Aeternam and the Offertorio Domine Jesu Christe. In the same RISM-source we saw too a fully Kyrie eleison and a “Assoluzione” Libera me Domine de morte aeterna. We are not sure if other Movements are available in this manuscript.
This Missa pro defunctis is set by Felice Anerio for four voices CATB.

This Missa pro defunctis contains:
01. Introitus: Requiem aeternam.
02. Kyrie: Kyrie, Christe, Kyrie.
03. Offertorium: Domine Jesu Christe.
04. Assoluzione: Libera me Domine de morte aeterna.

In the first movement, the introitus “Requiem aeternam”, Anerio quotes in two parts the plainchant in an uni sono way, “Requiem aeternam” and “Te decet hymnus in Sion.” Moreover in the second polyphonic version in the Cantus as from Ms 19 up to 29 starting from “exaudi orationem meam” Ms 24, Anerio quotes slightly the plainchant. The two polyphonic movements in Ms 3 to 17 and Ms 19 to 32 are set for four voices CATB. Cantus with Tenor and Altus with Bassus start in the first polyphonic movement in a paired setting. This first polyphonic part of this Missa pro defunctis is written in a modest polyphonic way, with homophonic parts as from Ms 19 “et tibi reddetur ..”.
This first movement of this Missa pro defunctis “Requiem aeternam” contains in total 32 bars, the plainchant included and is set in F. The Offertorium, “Domine Jesu Christe” is set for four voices CATB and contains 50 bars. Anerio starts with a part of the plainchant “Domine Jesu Christe, Rex gloriae ”. The following polyphonic part with “Libera animas .etc. “ is set in a predominantly homophonic way. Anerio omitted in this Offertorium the normally used last sentences “Hostias et preces …..” but this part will be normally sung in plainchant. After that “Quam olim Abrahae” in CATB will be repeated and is set in D-Dorian. From the Kyrie and the Assoluzione we only saw the Inciptis, that means the first notes. This part of the Missa pro defunctis is found in:
Composizioni di Felice Anerio. | Madrigali spirituali. - | Hor le tue forze adopra. - Messa a 4. | Vestiva i colli. - Messa a 8. | Messa pro depunctis. - a 4. cum Organo ad libitum | Kyrie Gloria et Credo, Missae cil titulae Stella quamviderunt Maggi | cum cinque vocibus. - auct. Joanne Francisco Anerio. | Motecta a 8. vocibus. - Francesco Anerio. | Motecta a 8. vocibus. - Felice Anerio . Fol 1-390 Manuscript copy: 1843-1858.
Author:Wim Goossens
Libera me, Domine in C major
Period:Late Renaissance
Musical form:motet a 4 vocibus inaequales CATB
Text/libretto:Latin from the Officium Defunctorum
Libera me, Domine in C major for 4 mixed voices (SATB).
The ”Libera me, Domine de morte” is in general a plainchant from the Exsequiarum Ordo (in Exsequiis) 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 (edition 1936) pages 1767 – 1768.
Following the text Felice Anerio uses the normal published text version as mentioned below.
This large motet “Libera me, Domine de morte aeterna” is written by Anerio in short polyphonic settings for among others four voices (CATB) and sometimes three voices. This setting differs from his Libera me Domine part of his Missa Pro Defunctis Quaternis vocibus in F mentioned in this website here above. Anerio uses modest polyphonic style in this “Libera me” closely resembles Palestrina’s. Important in this case the text should be understandable. Bassus (Ms 1) and Cantus (Ms 2) start each with a descending semitone (a-g#). Anerio uses some word-painting for instance in “tremenda” in Tenor and Bassus Ms 8 each with four ascending (Tenor c-b-c-d) and four descending (Bassus e-d-c-b) eighth notes.
“Tremens factus” starts with three voices ( CAT) Ms 23 up to 32. The following “Quando coeli” is set again for CATB. The “Dies illa, dies irae” as from Ms 39 is set by Anerio in an austere very low texture with three lower voices (ATB) in nearly homophonic style. The “Requiem aeternam” is set again for four voices ending after the normal repeating with the threefold Kyrie, Christe, Kyrie eleison. Of course as we mentioned this Respond will be in accordance with the Gregorian tradition repeated form “Libera me Domine de morte aeterna in die illa tremenda” up to Tremens factus after that ending with the already mentioned Kyrie eleison.
Of course it is possible according Gregorian practise to start with the in exsequiis after the Missa pro Defunctis.
This setting contains 72 measures and is set in C.
Author:Wim Goossens
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.

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.
Contributor:Wim Goossens