Adrian Willaert (±1490-1562): Saluto te sancta virgo

Adrian Willaert’s four-part motet Saluto te sancta virgo must have made quite an impression on his contemporaries because it can be found in a number of sources not the least of which is the Medici Codex, a collection of 53 motets compiled for Pope Leo X (the first Medici pope) and presented by him as a wedding gift to his nephew Lorenzo de’ Medici, Duke of Urbino, when the latter returned to Italy from France with his new bride Madeleine de la Tour d’Auvergne in 1518. Its composed in a symmetrical style that owes much to Mouton’s music although unlike Mouton Willaert moves the statement and answer around rather than in a predictable succession as  Mouton would have done and unlike Mouton introduces changes to the imitative structure in the motet’s second leading to new and interesting harmonics. It’s a sophisticated piece of music calling for a certain amount of virtuosity on the part of those singing it as well as being a fervent and beautiful Marian motet. Enjoy :-).


Text & Translation: Saluto te sancta virgo

Saluto te sancta virgo Maria,
domina coelorum et regina,
ea salutatione qua te salutavit Gabriel angelus dicens:
I greet you, Holy Virgin Mary,
mistress of heaven and queen,
with the same greeting by which the angel Gabriel greeted you, saying,
Ave Maria, gratia plena, dominus tecum,
benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
Rogo te ergo per illud gaudium,
quod habuisti in illa hora, qua concepisti dominum nostrum Jesum Christum,
Therefore I ask you, through that joy which you had in that hour you received our Lord Jesus Christ,
ut laetifices cor meum in hora defunctionis meae,
et subvenias mihi tam in corpore quam in anima,
that you gladden my heart in the hour of my death, and that you assist me as much in body as in spirit,
et non dimittas me perdi propter nimia peccata,
sed subvenias mihi in omnibus neccesitatibus meis,
and that you not send me away to destruction on account of my too many sins, but that you assist me in all that I need,
amen. amen.

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