Guillaume Dufay (1397-1474): Flos florum

flos florumThe text Dufay’s Marian three-part (ATT) motet Flos FLorum is to be found in the Analecta hymnica medii aevi.  It’s a song motet which means firstly that Dufay composed the melody in its entirety making no reference to the chant, and secondly that unlike previous generations’ motets their form is neither inferred nor derived from the rhythmic periodicity of the the line. It’s not isorhythmic in other words. Dufay rapidly made freely composed motets of this type his primary vehicle for his musical experiments which included making his devotional motets such as this one sound as much like a polyphonic chanson as possible generally, as you can hear below, by making the two lowest voices (tenor and contratenor) support the highest voice (cantus). As the motet unfolds this chanson-like structure becomes very clear with the cantus’ role being highlighted with some very ornate writing which Dufay interrupts by causing the three voices to sing in homophony as the motet draws to its conclusion. Enjoy :-).

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Guillaume Dufay (1397-1474): Flos florum

Flos florum, fons hortorum, regina polorum,Flower of flowers, fount of gardens, queen of the heavens,
spes veniƦ, lux letitiƦ, medicina dolorum.hope of pardon, light of joy, remedy of sorrows.
virga recens et virgo decens, tu forma bonorum:fresh branch and seemly virgin, model of goodness:
parce reis et opem fer eis pro pace piorum,spare the guilty and bring them a reward in the peace of the righteous,
pasce tuos, succure tuis, miserere tuorum.

Analecta hymnica medii aevi

feed your own, succour your own, have mercy upon your own.

Performers: Ensemble Musica Nova
Score available from CPDL: Flos florum (Guillaume Dufay) – ChoralWiki.

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