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Richard Dering
c.1580 - 1630
Great Britain, England
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R. Dering
Richard Dering — also known as Deering, Dearing, Diringus, etc. — (c.1580 - 1630) was an English Renaissance composer during the era of late Tudor music. Despite being English, Dering lived and worked most of his life in the South Netherlands owing to his Roman Catholic faith. Little is known about his early life but it is more likely that Dering studied and was musically trained in England but was later converted to Catholicism. In 1600 he went to study at Christ Church, Oxford, and in 1610 he graduated with a bachelor's degree. It is stated Dering had been engaged for more than 10 years in the study and practice of music. Around 1612 Dering travelled to Italy, visiting Venice, Florence and some later Rome. As from 1612 Dering travelled with the Ambassador of England to the Republic of Venice, Sir Dudley Carleton, 1st Viscount Dorchester. Following the English Reformation in the 16th century, a number of English composers who had converted to Catholicism went to live in exile in Roman Catholic countries in Continental Europe. Uncertain when but earlier than 1617 Dering went to live in Brussels, the capital of the Spanish Netherlands, and in the music the capital of the region from famous South Netherlandish composers. Besides all a circle of other exiled Catholic English recusant composers in the Low Countries. A number of other English composers and musicians had taken up residence there, among them Daniel Norcombe (c.1576-1653), Anthony Chambers ( 17th C), Peter Philips (c. 1560-1628) and John Bull (c. 1562-1628).
In Brussels, Dering had a position as organist to a convent of English Benedictine nuns of Our Lady of the Assumption. John Bolt (-?-) left as organist that convent in 1612. In 1625 Dering was appointed organist to a Catholic Queen Henrietta Maria (1609-1669) and returned to England. Richard Dering passed away in 1630. Dering wrote three books of motets (Antwerp, 1617 & 1618; London 1662 P) for different voices with continuo, two of canzonets (Antwerp, 1620) and one of continuo madrigals. Dering is represented in many anthologies. His music shows varying degrees of Italian influence.
Author:Wim Goossens
Heu Mihi, Domine
Period:Late Renaissance
Composed in:1618
Musical form:Motet à 6 vocibus inaequalium
Text/libretto:Latin out of de Officium Defunctorum
The “Heu mihi Domine” or (Hei mihi Domine) is a plainchant from the Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum, Ad Matutinum. The “Heu mihi, Domine” is an old Responsorium, a Respond which is among others published in the old Liber Usualis page 1791 (Edition 1936) and is sung after Lectio V in the secund Nocturn.
In this case the English composer Richard Dering sets this Respond “Heu mihi Domine” for six voices (TrTrATTB). 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. Richard Dering uses in this case the general text version but only a part of it in using the two first sentences.
Dering sets this motet generally in short imitative polyphonic counterpoint but in Italian style with vivid homophonic phrases, modulations and dramatic expression to underline the text with the art of setting madrigals. In this setting you see great influence of the Italian masters referring to the art of madrigals. This motet starts with an imposing and rhythmic “Hei Mihi Domine” for four voices followed by Tenor II and the Bass. In four measures (Ms 11-14) Dering paints the words “Quid Faciam / What shall I do” full of doubtless. Five voices follow in an imitative way each other in that question starting twice with an f2 (same motive through all the voices: f-d-c-Bb) followed with a tune higher twice an g2 (motive: g-e-d-c) returning to an f2 (motive: f-d-c-Bb and motive c-a-g-f in all Tenor and Bass). That’s dramatic music. Even dramatic is the closing with the homophonic and vivid “Hei ubi fugiam / where shall I flee “ which starts from measure 16 (Ms 16-35). That setting by the wording “nisi ad te Deus meus” is in a short imitative way and will be twice interrupted or preceded by vivid homophonic phrases “Hei ubi fugiam” as we already mentioned. Of course Dering uses sometimes dissonant chords. In this short Respond ( Ms 35) Dering mixed up the Italian art of madrigals with the polyphonic counterpoint by the South Netherlandish. His dramatic, declamatory style shows the influence of the new Italian Baroque and demonstrates Dering's ability to easily embrace new musical styles. See for instance as another example his most famous motet “Factum est Silentium / Silence in heaven” which is set in the same style and even set for six voices! Both motets are published in Cantica Sacra Senis Vocibus, Pierre Phalèse Antwerp 1618.

♫ Heu Mihi, Domine
© Gamut GAM CD 538
Author:Wim Goossens
R. Heu mihi, Domine, quia peccavi nimis in vita mea:
quid faciam miser, ubi fugiam, nisi ad te, Deus meus?

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?
Contributor:Wim Goossens