Cipriano de Rore (c1515-1565): O altitudo divitiarum

Musicologists when they mention De Rore highlight his pioneering of the madrigal, if it hadn’t been for him, they point out, madrigals would never have come to dominate Italian music in the way they did in the second half of the sixteenth century. But to focus only on his output of madrigals is to ignore his considerable output of very fine religious music.  De Rore’s meditative five-part (SATTB) motet O altitudo divitiarum ( O height of riches ) takes its text from St. Paul’s meditation on God’s unfathomable nature. The style is very much that of the Low Countries replete with suspensions and passing notes. The ensemble comes together at the second-last line (Quoniam ex ipso … ) before reverting to counterpoint through to the final Amen. Enjoy :-).


Cipriano de Rore (c1515-1565): O altitudo divitiarum

O altitudo divitiarum sapientiae et scientiae
Quam incomprehensibilia sunt iudicia eius
et investigabiles viae eius.

O depth of riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God.
How unfathomable are his judgments
and untraceable his paths.

Quis enim cognovit sensum Domini?
Aut quis consiliarius eius fuit?
Aut quis prior dedit illi et retribuetur ei?
Quoniam ex ipso et per ipsum et in ipso sunt omnia;
ipsi gloria in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Romans 11: 33-36

For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counsellor?
Or who first gave to him and then had it paid back to him?
For of him and through him and in him are all things;
to him be glory for an age of ages. Amen.

The Brabant Ensemble conducted by Stephen Rice.

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