O mors quam amara est (Orlando di Lasso)

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  • (Posted 2020-12-05)  CPDL #61835:  Network.png
Editor: Christopher Shaw (submitted 2020-12-05).   Score information: A4, 9 pages, 326 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Please click on the link for preview/playback/PDF download.
  • (Posted 2016-10-01)  CPDL #41297: 
Original key (high chiavette):   (MIDI)    
Transposed down a fourth:   (MIDI)   - Alto parts in transposed violin clef.
Editor: Pothárn Imre (submitted 2016-10-01).   Score information: A4, 5 pages, 136 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Transcribed from Selectissimae cantiones, 1568, text underlay corrected on the basis of 1579 edition. Original note-values.

General Information

Title: O mors quam amara est
Composer: Orlando di Lasso
Lyricist: Sirach 41:1-4create page

Number of voices: 6vv   Voicing: SAATTB
Genre: SacredMotet

Language: Latin
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1564 in Primus liber concentuum sacrorum, no.  
    2nd published: 1568 in Selectissimae cantiones, no. 1.21
    3rd published: 1568 in Novi thesauri musici (Pietro Giovannelli), Liber 3, no. 51
    4th published: 1579 in Selectissimae cantiones 1579, no. 24
    5th published: 1604 in Magnum opus musicum, no. 387
    Manuscript 1566 in Cantiones sex et quinque vocum (manuscript), no. 11
Description: 2-part motet:

  • 1. O mors quam amara est
  • 2. O mors bonum est judicium tuum

External websites:

Original text and translations

See also German & English at O Tod, wie bitter bist du (Johannes Brahms).

Latin.png Latin text

O mors quam amara est memoria tua
homini pacem habenti in substantiis suis
viro quieto, et cujus vitae directae sunt in omnibus
et adhuc valenti accipere cibum.

O mors bonum est judicium tuum
homini indigenti et qui minoratur viribus,
defecta aetate, et cui de omnibus cura est
et incredibili qui perdit sapientiam.

Hungarian.png Hungarian translation

Oh halál! mely keserves a te emlékezeted azon embernek,
ki békeségben él javaival,
a nyugalomban élő férfiúnak, kinek útai mindenben szerencsések,
és a ki jóízűen ehetik.

Oh halál! jó a te itéleted a szűkölködő embernek,
és annak, ki megfogyatkozott erejében,
elgyengűlt öregségében, és a kinek mindenre nézve gondja van,
és a bizalmatlannak, ki elveszti a bölcsességet.

English.png English translation

O death, how bitter is the remembrance of thee
to a man that liveth at rest in his possessions:
unto the man that hath nothing to vex him, and that hath prosperity in all things,
yea unto him that is yet able to receive meat!

O death, acceptable is thy sentence unto the needy,
and unto him whose strength faileth,
that is now in the last age, and is vexed with all things,
and to him that despaireth and hath lost patience!