Franchino Gaffurio (1451 – 1522): Salve Regina

Virgin Mary Cathedral Door Milan

Gaffurio is now remembered as a scholar and a theoretician rather than as a composer. He was very influential during his lifetime and for about a century after. He stands out as an Italian at a time when the choirs and musical ensembles of the courts, colleges, and cathedrals were dominated by composers from the North such as Josquin and Weerbeke.  He wound up working for the Sforza family in Milan where he greatly expanded the repertoire of the cathedral there. He came to composing fairly late on and the music of his that survives which includes eleven settings of the Mass and fifty one motets show him to have been a skilled composer. His motets show greater inventiveness than his Masses and I’ve chosen to introduce his music here on Saturday Chorale with a setting of Salve Regina firstly because it’s beautiful and satisfying music with a pleasing melodic line and secondly because as a Sforza appointee he would have been expected to produce a lot of specifically Marian music – the devotion of the Sforzas to the Virgin Mary was legendary. Enjoy :-).

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Franchino Gaffurio (1451 – 1522): Salve Regina

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Text & Translation: Salve Regina

LatinModern English TranslationTraditional English Translation
Salve regina, mater misericordiae,Hail, O queen, mother of mercy,Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
vita, dulcedo et spes nostra salve.our life, sweetness and hope, hail.our life, our sweetness and our hope.
Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevae,To thee do we sigh, daughter of Eve,To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;
ad te suspiramus gementes et flentesmourning and weepingto thee do we send up our sighs,
in hac lacrimarum valle.in this vale of tears.mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Eia ergo advocata nostraO you our advocate,Turn then, most gracious advocate,
illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte.turn on us thy merciful eyes.thine eyes of mercy toward us;
Et Iesum benedictum fructum ventris tuiAnd after this our exile show unto us Jesus,And after this our exile, show unto us
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.the blessed fruit of thy womb.the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clemens, o pia, o dulcis virgo Maria.O merciful, O loving, O sweet virgin Mary.O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

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