Congaudemus pariter - En lux immensa (Anonymous)

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CPDL #15850: Icon_pdf.gif [ Icon_snd.gif] Lilypond
Editor: Peter Kaplan (added 2008-01-27).   Score information: Letter, 1 pages, 164 kbytes   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Transcribed via dictation from ECM (1995) recording. Key signature, time signature, and staff notation modernized. Time signature kept constant. Dynamics and other interpretation left unmarked except in a single case (see music notation file for details).
Translation available upon request.
Since this is a dictation edition, errors are not only possible but altogether likely. Please contact the editor directly to report any possible errors or disparities.

General Information

Title: Congaudemus Pariter // En Lux Immensa
Composer: anonymous

Number of voices: 2vv
Voicing: TB duet, polyphonic polytext
Genre: Sacred
Language: Latin
Instruments: Pitched at the pitch given by the Hilliard Ensemble`s recording (1995) of same.
Published: c. 1500

Description: From ECM recording`s liner notes:

The Codex is one of the oldest surviving collections of Czech renaissance polyphony, and originated in the Utraquist protestant congregations of around 1500. The related Strahov Codex is some 10 to 15 years older, but was used by the Catholics and may have come from Moravia or Silesia. If 1500 seems rather late for renaissance music to have reached Prague, it should be remembered that the Hussite Wars of 1419-1434 had divided the `nation of heretics` from the rest of Catholic Europe, and it was only in the last quarter of the 15th century that there was a significant inflow of cultural and artistic ideas. The Codex Specialnik was not the first collection of renaissance polyphony: many of its pieces had clearly been in circulation for some time. The manuscript is currently in the Hradec Kralove Museum, which acquired it from a Prague antique dealer in 1901. Leafing through it is an extraordinary experience, as some musicologists have discovered. Some of it, such as Josquins Ave Maria, is written in `white` notation, and other pieces are in black mensural notation. The binding bears the date 1546, but inside the hard cover we find the date 1611 together with an inscription saying that in that year `Michael Muratt ... gave this Specialnik (ie special songbook) to the Church of St Peter`. Amazingly, this collection of (by then) archaic polyphony had been copied by some protestant church-goers in Prague in the middle of the 16th century, and they had then used it right up to the time when the Baroque was knocking on the door. Recent examination by Jitka Petrusova has revealed the true history of the manuscript. Its oldest part, the `corpus`, was written on paper made in Italy and southern Germany in the 1480s and 90s, and it was probably finished some time before 1500, loosely bound and with an index of its contents. The`corpus`continued to be added to by different hands and eventually incorporated two new fascicles. When the hard binding was done around 1546 some pieces were moved and a collection of unison hymns was added. The original pre-1500 copyist had begun with both Czech and foreign contemporary music, starting with music for the Mass, followed by motets and songs in white notation. He then added in black notation older Czech music that was current in the 14th and early 15th centuries. Later scribes ignored this layout and added music wherever they found a convenient space. The Codex Specialnik is then a large anthology of polyphony that flourished in Bohemia from the 14th century onwards. The selection here is arranged broadly in chronological order, but with some concession to textual considerations. Like the Codex itself, it is probably best dipped into rather than swallowed whole. To take the oldest pieces first, these can be described as the remnants of the Czech Ars Antiqua and Ars Nova. The Codex contains some 50 pieces whose roots reach back to around 1300, corresponding to compositions found in dozens of 14th to 16 th century sources in western Europe. The most striking renaissance features are to be found in the works of Petrus Wilhelmi de Crudencz, the Master of Krakov University, who spent some time in Bohemia on his way back to Silesia from travels in southern Germany and Austria. Two of the pieces performed here are `rotuli`, or rounds, which in later sources were treated as multiple-texted motets. All four contain the composer s name in an acrostic (spectacularly so in the case of track 13, which manages to fit in the whole thing). There are some 150 renaissance compositions in the manuscript, and only about one third of these are by composers who can be identified. We know nothing of the two Czechs, Tomek and Gontrasek, and pieces originating from within the local congregations carry the collective designation `sociorum` - by members or comrades. Many of the anonymous works are based on Czech melodies current at the time (7, 15 and 23). Equally interesting are the imported compositions attributed to 30 foremost European musicians, among them the Englishmen Bedyngham, Frye, Morton and Plummer, and the Franco-Flemish composers Barbireau, Basiron, Compere, Isaac, Obrecht, Agricola, Tinctoris and Josquin. Eight pieces by Johannes Touront suggest that this composer spent some time in the Czech lands. The Codex also contains a number of secular chansons that the Prague brethren furnished with sacred Latin texts, though it is not clear why they should have felt it necessary to replace the Marian text of the Johannes Aulen motet with the involved rhetoric of Terrigenarum plasmator (14). We are still searching for the author of the remarkable Missa Petite Camusette, based on the famous chanson by Ockeghem. There is no Agnus Dei according to the Utraquist rite, but why the `crucifixus` section has been omitted from the Credo remains a mystery. I hope that with this collection we can progress beyond merely marvelling at the curious and anachronistic musical feast that is the Codex Specialnik. This polyphonic song book reflects both a reverence towards the Czech Gothic and an ending of Bohemian isolation, embracing Western renaissance style and writing down the new fruits of the Czechs` own burgeoning culture.


Original text and translations

Congaudemus pariter nam florum flos hilariter
aridet et suaviter cordi tripulo.
Infantulo iacenti in cunabulo
uni trino domino sempiterni herulo
canimus in gaudio. Marie filio
nam nulla gens excipitur cunctis sed precipitur
deum et laudemus en puer amabilis
est et ineffabilis cui ymnisemus.

En lux immensa ve protensa illa die claruit.
Dum venerit bos
et asini rudit os nato,
generato matris in gremio.
Sic perit lex
dum venit rex
et gaudens exit grex
abit voce angelica
in excelsis gloria
omnis canat christicola
dulce simphoniset.