Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Osculetur me osculo oris sui

In 1584 the Roman printer Alessandro Gardano brought out Motettorum Quinque Vocibus LIBER QUARTUS  the contents of which consist entirely of Palestrina’s settings of verses from the Song of Songs. They were wildly popular going through multiple reprints and helped make Palestrina a relatively wealthy man. Encouraged by such people as St. Philip Neri there was a revival of religious feeling in Italy. The main instrument of this revival was public and private groups that gathered together for devotional meetings. These groups ensured that there was a heavy demand for music that could be sung by any kind of small singing group ranging from all male soloist groups, to mixed groups, to small amateur choirs. Never one to miss an opportunity Palestrina wrote settings of verses from the Song of Songs in such a way that they are in effect vocal chamber music that could be sung by very varied forces. Osculetur me osculo oris sui (Let him kiss me  with the kiss of his mouth) is the first of the set.  Enjoy :-).


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