Crux fidelis / Ecce lignum / O Crux ave (Ludwig Senfl)

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  • (Posted 2021-01-24)  CPDL #62490:     
Editor: Adrian Wall (submitted 2021-01-24).   Score information: A4, 5 pages, 1.35 MB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Transposed down a tone. Note values quartered.

General Information

Title: Crux fidelis / Ecce lignum / O Crux ave
Composer: Ludwig Senfl

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredMotetCanon

Language: Latin
Instruments: A cappella

    Manuscript 1527 in Universitsbibliothek, Munich. MS 8° 322-325
First published: c. 1538 in Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich. 2 156#4 (Crux fidelis only)
    2nd published: c. 1538 in Österreichische Nationalbibliotheque, Vienna. SA.87.D.8 Mus 32 (O Crux ave only)
    3rd published: 1567 in Clemens Stephani: Suavissimae et iucundissimae harmoniae (Gerlach, Nuremberg)(Crux fidelis only), no. 9
    4th published: 1568 in Clemens Stephani: Suavissimae et iucundissimae harmoniae, liber secundus (Gerlach, Nuremberg) (O Crux ave only)
Description: The earliest source of this group of settings of texts for Passiontide and Good Friday is a set of manuscript partbooks, compiled in Basel under the direction of Heinrich Glareanus, whose preface, in the tenor book, is dated 1527. Each of the pieces was printed in around 1538, probably by Petreius of Nuremberg, on a broadsheet, in the form of a cross: a copy of Crux fidelis appears among the collection of broadsheets now held at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich under the shelfmark 2 156; a copy of O Crux ave is held at the Österreichische Nationalbibliotheque in Vienna; a copy of Ecce lignum is known to have existed at the Sächsische Landbibliotheque in Dresden, but was destroyed in 1945. The pieces have the inscription Canon. Misericordia & Veritas obviaverunt sibi. Justitia & Pax osculatae sunt. This quote — Psalm 84:11 (Vulgate) "Mercy and truth are met together; justice and peace have kissed each other" — gives a clue to the resolution of the canon, where two parts are retrograde versions of the other two. In the manuscript source, the resolution is written out.

External websites:

Original text and translations

Latin.png Latin text

Crux fidelis inter omnes
arbor una nobilis,
nulla silva talem profert
fronde, flore, germine.
Dulce lignum, dulces clavos,
dulce pondus sustinet.

Ecce lignum crucis
in quo salus mundi pependit:
venite adoremus.

O Crux ave spes unica
hoc passionis tempore,
auge piis iustitiam
reisque dona veniam.

English.png English translation

Faithful Cross, among all
the one noble tree,
the wood offers none so great
in foliage, flower or shoot.
Sweet wood, sweet nail,
sustains sweet weight.

Behold the wood of the Cross,
on which hung the salvation of the world.
Come, let us adore.

Hail, O Cross, only hope
in this Passiontide,
increase justice to the devout
and give grace to the sinful.

Original text and translations may be found at Crux fidelis.
Original text and translations may be found at Ecce lignum crucis.
Original text and translations may be found at Vexilla Regis.