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Philippe Verdelot
c.1480 - c.1530
France / Italy
Ph. Verdelot
Philippe Verdelot (1480/1485 - 1530/1532) was a French composer who spent most of his life in Italy. Verdelot dominated the early development together with Constanzo Festa (1485-1545) of the madrigal. Not much is known about his youth. Probably he was born in Les Loges. It is supposed he studied in Italy with Obrecht in Ferrara. Yet in his lifetime Verdelot was one of the most celebrated composers of the middle Renaissance period, and really the here presented “Si bona suscepimus” was one of his most influential pieces. Verdelot a Frenchman who found most of his employment in Florence, Verdelot seems to have had an exciting life there, befriending Machiavelli and other republican intellectuals, probably siding against the Medici. Verdelot hold down two of the most prestigious musical positions in the city: maestro di cappella at the baptistry of S. Maria del Fiore (from 24 March 1522 at the latest to 7 September 1525) and at the cathedral (2 April 1523 to 28 June 1527). He published 9 volumes of madrigals. His church-music was published in anthologies all over Europe. Verdelot perhaps has been killed in the siege of Florence (1529–1530) or perhaps been killed in the plague that ravaged Florence, since there is no definite evidence that he was alive after 1530.
Author:Wim Goossens
Si bona suscepimus
Period:Early Renaissance
Composed in:1526
Musical form:Motet a 5 vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin from a Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum
Label(s):CDGIM 033
This Si bona suscepimus is an old Responsorium. 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 87. One of the two corresponding Versicle from the Office of the Dead “ Nudus egressus” number 156 is even used by Jacobus Clement (1515-1556), Gombert (c.1495-c.1557), Lassus (1532-1594), Lechner (1553-1606) and Thomas Selle (1599-1663) did. But on the other hand Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612) and Claudin de Sermisy (1490-1562) used only the Respond version without the Versicle-part so did Constanzo Porta (1529-1601) as we will see. It is known the use of Responds and Versicles of The Office of the Dead vary per region all over Europe.
This particularly Respond is used and found in the series of Deventer Holland and preserved in the University of Amsterdam. And the more general type (Respond-Type 25) to which this Respond belongs is spread in the area under the Ottonian and Salian emperors the counties of Lower Lorraine, of Flanders, Champgane and the northern part of Holland. In general the text is coming out of the Book Job. The choice of texts and the order in which they occur in the sources all around Europe vary according to local uses. This text setting is found in Deventer in a source out of 1516 and this Respond is sung at the end of the third nocturne.
This long Respond - consisting out of 115 bars - is written by Phillip Verdelot for 5 lower voices (ATTTB). One of the advantages of Verdelot's late style to would-be parody writers is the beautifully simple melodic lines, the clearly delineated sections and austere textures which Verdelot had come to favour. Because this writing is so transparent that all the motifs are instantly recognizable. And the excellent beauty of this motet is increased and underlined by a hidden repeat in the music, so that, although the phrases run con¬tinuously, the words “Dominus dedit dominus, abstulit sicut Domino (“The Lord has given, the Lord has taken away”)' are used as a refrain, or more as an admonition and set in a most sombre style. This incidentally repeat of the text was by Verdelot and not out of the book Job. These words, suggesting civil disorder. This motet is an ideal composition to parody, due to its transparent melodic lines and even austere texture. This motet was parodied by among others Cristobal de Morales (1500-1553) in his famous six-voice Mass-setting Missa Si Bona Suscepimus.
Author:Wim Goossens
Text Si bona suscepimus:
Si bona suscepimus de manu domine, mala autem quare non sustineamus?
Dominus dedit dominus abstulit sicut domino placuit ita factum est.
Sit nomen domini benedictum.
V. Nudus egressus sum de utero matris meae, nudus revertar illuc
R. If we have received good things at the hand of God, why should we not endure evil?
The Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away: as it has pleased the Lord, so is it done.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
V. Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither.
Contributor:Wim Goossens