Giaches de Wert (1535-96): Providebam Dominum

De Wert was a Fleming who worked in Northern Italy for most of his life. 1 He had a very considerable influence both during his lifetime and for many generations after his death not least because of his strong influence on Claudio Mon­tever­di studied under him. He was a renowned madrigalist and his approach to the madrigalian form shows a very inventive and original use of rhythm.

Providebam Dominum (I foresaw the Lord) is his setting of Acts 2:25-28 it’s somewhat unusual amongst his motets because he uses two techniques to represent joy and rejoicing there’s a fairly straightforward and  conventional triple time passage at "propter hoc lætátum est cor meum, et exsultávit lingua mea" (For this my heart hath been glad, and any tongue hath rejoiced) and then towards the end when we get to "replébis me iucunditáte" ( thou shalt make me full of joy) he uses what is almost his signature technique of employing rapidly shifting madrigalian style singing a crossing over from secular to sacred music which must have greatly shocked his contemporaries hearing it for the first time. It must have caused consternation amongst those required to sing it for the first time too. Happily for us the singers of Collegium Regale under Stephen Cleobury are more than equal to the challenge. Enjoy :-)


Giac­hes de Wert (1535-96): Providebam Dominum (Acts 2:25-28)

Providébam Dóminum in conspéctu meo semper:
quóniam a dextris est mihi, ne commóvear:
propter hoc lætátum est cor meum, et exsultávit
lingua mea, ínsuper et caro mea requiéscet in spe.
Quóniam non derelínques ánimam meam in inférno,
nec dabis sanctum tuum vidére corruptiónem.
Notas mihi fecísti vias vitæ: replébis me iucunditáte
cum fácie tua.

Acts 2:25-28

I foresaw the Lord always before my face:
because he is at my right hand, that I may not be
moved. For this my heart hath been glad,
and any tongue hath rejoiced: moreover my
flesh also shall rest in hope. Because thou wilt
not leave my soul in hell, nor suffer thy Holy
One to see corruption. Thou hast made known
to me the ways of life: thou shalt make me full
of joy with thy countenance.

Performers: Collegium Regale conducted by Stephen Cleobury

  1. You’ll find more details of his life in my posting introducing him which you can find here: Giaches de Wert (1535-96): Gaudete in Domino | Saturday Chorale – mfi.

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