Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Angelus Domini descendit de caelo

Painting: The Three Marys at the Tomb Artist:  Duccio (1260–1318)  Date: Between 1308 and 1311 Technique: Tempera on wood Location:  Museo dell'Opera metropolitana del Duomo

Painting: The Three Marys at the Tomb
Artist:
Duccio (1260–1318)
Date: Between 1308 and 1311
Technique: Tempera on wood
Location:
Museo dell’Opera metropolitana del Duomo

In 1593 Palestrina published the Offertoria totius anni secundum Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae (Offertories for the whole year according to the Use of the Roman Church), for five voices. They represent one of the pinnacles of his art with melodies that he composed himself rather than taking the chant as his starting point. All of them have beautiful flowing lines and combine pleasing harmonies with very clear text declamation. Faced with such riches it’s hard to single out favourites but if I had to choose Angelus Domini descendit de caelo (The Angel of the Lord came down from heaven) the Offertory at Mass on Easter Monday and Low Sunday would be high on the list. Its text is an adaptation of Matthew 28:2-6 and it has Palestrina’s characteristic restrained and graceful musical lines towards the end there’s a wonderfully effective emphasis in which the voices all come together on the word ‘surrexit’ – the text’s crowning moment. The motet ends with an Alleluia calculated to uplift the congregation as they celebrated the Risen Christ. Enjoy :-)

mfi

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Angelus Domini descendit de caelo

Angelus Domini descendit de caelo
et dixit mulieribus:
Quem quaeritis, surrexit, sicut dixit.
Alleluia.

The Angel of the Lord came down from heaven and spake to the women:
He whom you seek has arisen, as he said. Alleluia.

Performers: The Sixteen conducted by Harry Christophers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *