Josquin Des Prez (±1450-1521): Absalon, fili mi

By  | June 27, 2013 | 0 Comments | Filed under: Choral Music

Josquin's motet Absalon, fili mi is unique. The text in which David mourns the killing of his son Absalon who had risen in rebellion against him deviates from the Biblical text and was almost certainly compiled by Josquin himself:

Absalon fili mi,
quis det ut moriar pro te, Absalon?
Non vivam ultra (from Job) ,
sed descendam in infernum (from Psalm 54) plorans.

it strenghtens and dramatises the mood of the piece. Josquin's polyphony throughout the motet serves to emphasise rather than obscure the relationship between word and tone and completely humanises the text. A feat that few of his contemporaries could have accomplished. It's sung below by the excellent Dufay ensemble. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland


Text & Translation:

Latin English
Absalon fili mi,
quis det ut moriar pro te, Absalon?
Non vivam ultra,
sed descendam in infernum plorans.
Absalon my son,
if only I had died instead of you, Absalon!
I shall live no more,
but go down to hell, weeping.
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