Infirmitatem nostram (Philippe Verdelot)

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  • (Posted 2023-08-18)  CPDL #74908:     
Editor: Simon Biazeck (submitted 2023-08-18).   Score information: A4, 6 pages, 197 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Clefs: C2, C4, C3, C4, F4. Original pitch and note-values retained. Cue-size and cautionary accidentals are editorial. All E-flats are from the Low Countries sources. (Pierre 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.

General Information

Title: Infirmitatem nostram
Composer: Philippe Verdelot

Number of voices: 5vv   Voicing: ATTTB
Genre: SacredMotet

Language: Latin
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: Handwritten supertitle Oratio in the Superius partbook.

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.

External websites:

Original text and translations

Latin.png Latin text

Infirmitatem nostram quaesumus,
Domine, propitius respice,
et mala omnia quae iuste meremur
omnium Sanctorum tuorum
intercessionibus averte.
Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

English.png English translation

We beseech you, O Lord, be propitious
and show concern for our weakness, and,
through the intercessions of all your Saints,
turn away from us all the evils
which we have justly deserved.
Through Christ our Lord.

French.png French text

Fors seulement latente que je meure,
En mon las cueur, nul espoir ne demeure,
Car mon las cueur si fort me tourmente
Qui n'est douleur que par vous je ne sente,
Pourceque suis de vous perdre bien seure.

English.png English translation

Save only the expectation that I'll die,
In my weary heart no hope remains;
For my misfortune troubles me so sorely
That there is no grief I do not suffer because of you
Since I am utterly certain to lose you.