Infirmitatem nostram (Philippe Verdelot)
- Editor: Simon Biazeck (submitted 2020-05-08). Score information: A4, 6 pages, 199 kB Copyright: CPDL
- Edition notes: Clefs: C2, C4, C3, C4, F4. Original pitch and note-values retained. Cue-sized and cautionary accidentals are editorial. All E-flats are from the Low Countries sources; Attaignant's print has none. Primary text underlay may be considered editorial, although for the most part it follows the Leiden & ’s-Hertogenbosch sources which are in accordance. The mensural scheme for the paraphrase of Matthaeus Pipelare’s Fors seulement Tenor is presented as it appears in Attaingnant’s print with the local text, but eschewing the final Amen (also present in his other voices). The slightly different scheme from the two Low Countries sources is given in cue-sized notes with a speculative text underlay beyond the first two phrases.
Title: Infirmitatem nostram
Composer: Philippe Verdelot
Number of voices: 5vv Voicing: ATTTB
Genre: Sacred, Motet
Instruments: A cappella
First published: 1534 in Motettorum, Book 4 (Pierre Attaingnant), no. 17
2nd published: 1538 in Novum et insigne opus musicum (Ott and Formschneider), Volume 2, no. 22
3rd published: 1559 in Novum et insigne opus musicum (Berg and Neuber), Volume 2, no. 12
Description: Subtitled contra pestem (against the plague) in Pierre Attaingnant's 1534 edition, this motet is a setting of an ancient prayer against disease. Verdelot himself may have been a victim of the 1527 plague outbreak in Florence. The choir of the cathedral there was dissolved in its midst, leaving him without work. There followed no further records of his life.
The Leiden source attributes the work to Adrian Willaert, which seems unlikely; the ’s-Hertogenbosch source has no attribution. Attaingnant’s final Amen was probably not in the composer’s original conception. The printer may have had an eye set on Parisian liturgical practices, and whilst it is not wrong, it obscures the imitative scheme for the last phrase where the Superius must drop per in order to accommodate it.
The practice of raising the final third probably developed in Northern Italy and was not yet a feature of the music from this period, least of all from French or Franco-Flemish composers. To be sure of it, we should expect to see it clearly signed in a majority of the earliest sources.
Original text and translations
| Latin text
Infirmitatem nostram quaesumus,
| English translation|
We beseech you, O Lord, be propitious
| French text
Fors seulement latente que je meure,
| English translation|
Save only the expectation that I'll die,