Thomas Crecquillon’s (c1505-c1557) motet ‘Congratulamini mihi’ ("Rejoice with me") is his musical depiction of Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the risen Christ. It was greatly admired by Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599) who based one of his Masses upon it. Perhaps it’s difficult for us who live in a culture where most people place emphasis on a thoroughly secularised Christmas to understand the far greater importance attached by Crequillon’s contemporaries to Easter.
It is Easter rather than Christmas that is central to the Christian faith and after the musical drama and anguish of Holy Week, particularly the triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Saturday), when all lights in the church were extinguished and even the tabernacle stood empty, the musical outpouring of joy was all the more heartfelt. Crecquillon’s motet and Guerrero’s Mass are both examples of the irrepressible joy felt during the Paschal period. Even the saint’s expresses anguish at the death of Christ (‘et dum flerem ad monumentum’ – ‘and while I was weeping at the tomb’) causes no more than the briefest musical flickering of grief. Crequillon depicts Mary Magdalene’s confusion in the second verse but repeats the ending of the first verse – ‘et dum flerem ad monumentum, vidi Dominum meum. Alleluia‘ ("and while I was weeping at the tomb, I saw my Lord. Alleluia") to re-establish the sense of irrepressible joy.
You’ll find the text and translation to English below the fold. Enjoy :-)
Video Source: Thomas Crecquillon (c1505-c1557) Congratulamini mihi – YouTube Uploaded by markfromireland on Feb 3, 2012
Text: Congratulamini mihi
Congratulamini mihi omnes qui diligitis Dominum,
Tulerunt Dominum meum,
Responsory in Paschal Time, after John 20: 13, 15, 18
Rejoice with me, all you who love the Lord,
They have taken away my Lord,