Friday, December 13, 2013

Advent Music 3

Let's jump back 500 years. Jacob Arcadelt lived ca. 1505-1568. He was born in what is now Belgium, spent time in Florence, Rome, and Germany, and died in France. He served for a time as choirmaster of the Papal choir under Pope Paul 3, and later was choirmaster of the French Royal chapel. He was known for shorter works; in his earlier career he focused on motets and madrigals, and once in France he switched to chansons. However, he did write 3 masses, including the Christmas mass - Missa Noe noe.

This is the Kyrie from that Christmas Mass. Like much of his work, it is written in four-part harmony, with beautiful, long-flowing melodies that intertwine like the winter wind blowing through the trees. The text is the traditional Latin Kyrie:

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Music Christians would have been listening to during Advent and Christmas, almost 500 years ago.

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