Virgo prudentissima a 6 (Heinrich Isaac)

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  • (Posted 2024-01-07)  CPDL #78634:         
Editor: Gerd Eichler (submitted 2024-01-07).   Score information: A4, 21 pages, 905 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Transcribed from original print, Mensurstrich layout, original key signature and note values, clefs modernized, musica ficta clearly marked.
  • (Posted 2020-06-03)  CPDL #59036:     
Editor: Gary D. Cannon (submitted 2020-06-03).   Score information: Letter, 22 pages, 196 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:
  • (Posted 2004-01-23)  CPDL #06561:       
Editor: Sabine Cassola (submitted 2004-01-23).   Score information: A4, 17 pages, 256 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: 6 vocal parts printed separately (partbook format). full score also available
  • (Posted 2004-01-21)  CPDL #06548:       (Finale 2000)
Editor: Sabine Cassola (submitted 2004-01-21).   Score information: A4, 18 pages, 420 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: full score
Error.gif Possible error(s) identified. Error summary: minor underlay error. See the discussion page for full description.

General Information

Title: Virgo prudentissima a 6
Composer: Heinrich Isaac

Number of voices: 6vv   Voicing: SATTTB
Genres: Secular & SacredMotet

Language: Latin
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1520 in Liber selectarum cantionum (Grimm & Wirsung), no. 3, p. 23
    Manuscript 1545 in Cappella Sistina MS 24, no. 13
Description: An occasional poem for the Emperor Maximilian I, using the Gregorian Magnificat antiphon Virgo prudentissima as a cantus firmus.

External websites:

Original text and translations

Latin.png Latin text

Virgo prudentissima quae pia gaudia mundo
attulit, ut sphaeras omnes transcendit et astra
sub nitidis pedibus radiis, et luce chorusca
liquit et ordinibus iam circumsepta novenis
ter tribus atque ierarchiis excepta. Supremi
ante Dei faciem steterat, patrona reorum.
Dicite qui colitis splendentia culmina Olimpi:
Spirituum proceres, Anchangeli et Angeli et alme
Virtutesque Throni vos Principum, et agmina sancta,
vosque Potestates, et tu dominatio caeli
flammantes Cherubin, verbo Seraphinque creati,
an vos laetitiae tantus perfuderit unquam
sensus, ut aeterni Matrem vidisse tonantis
consessum. Caelo, terraque, marique potentem
Reginam, cuius nomen modo spiritus omnis
et genus humanum merito veneratur adorat.

Vos, Michael, Gabriel, Raphael testamur ad aures
illius, ut castas fundetis vota precesque
pro sacro Imperio, pro Caesare Maximiliano.
Det Virgo omnipotens hostes superare malignos:
restituat populis pacem terrisque salutem.
Hoc tibi devota carmen Georgius arte
ordinat Augusti Cantor Rectorque Capellae.
Austriacae praesul regionis, sedulus omni,
se in tua commendat studio pia gaudia mater.
Praecipuum tamen est Illi quo assumpta fuisti,
quo tu pulchra ut luna micas electa es, et ut sol.

Cantus firmus:
Virgo prudentissima, quo progrederis, quasi aurora valde rutilans? Filia Sion.
Tota formosa et suavis es: pulchra ut luna, electa ut sol.

English.png English translation

When the most wise Virgin, who brought holy joy to the world,
rose above all the spheres and left the stars
beneath her shining feet in gleaming, radiant light,
she was surrounded by the ninefold Ranks and received by the nine Hierarchies.
She, the friend of suppliants, stood before the face of the supreme God.
You who inhabit eternally the dazzling lights of Heaven
–– Archangels, leaders of the spirits, and Angels, and sustaining virtues,
and you thrones of princes, and you holy armies and you powers,
and you dominions of Heaven, and you fiery Cherubim,
and you Seraphim, created from the Word
– say whether such a feeling of joy has ever overwhelmed you
as when you saw the assembly of the Mother of the everlasting Almighty.
She is the queen, powerful in Heaven, on land and at sea;
every Spirit and every human being rightly praises and adores her divine majesty.

You, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, we beg you
to pour out to her chaste ears our prayers and entreaties for the sacred Empire and for Maximilian the Emperor.
May the all-powerful Virgin grant that he may conquer his wicked enemies
and restore peace to the nations and safety to the lands.
With faithful skill Georgius, the emperor's Precentor and Kapellmeister, rehearses this anthem for you.
The Governor of the Province of Austria, diligent in all things,
earnestly commends himself to your holy pleasure, mother.
The highest place, however, belongs to Him by whom you were taken up,
so that you shine beautiful as the moon, excellent as the sun.

Cantus firmus: Virgin most wise, where are you going, Daughter of Sion,
shining out as brightly as the dawn?
You are most comely and merciful, beautiful as the moon, excellent as the sun.