Loyset Compère Motets (Orlando Consort) Essay

1503 words - 7 pages

Loyset Compère Motets (Orlando Consort)

Loyset Compere, an accomplished yet not very well-known composer of the 15th century, has been neglected as a figure in musical history. Historians through the ages have somehow left him out of most of their writings. Therefore, as modern researchers and discoverers, we have very little resources from which to gather information about Compere. In fact, even his date and place of birth are argued upon by historians. Thus, our study is limited to what we see on the pages of his music and what we glean from the music we hear (MCD 1490, Carapetyan).

It is believed that Compere wrote some motets for the French Royal court during his years there. ...view middle of the document...

2, m. 5, m.10, and m. 18, each marking the end of a thought in the text. There are also many other places that exhibit a kind of pseudo-cadence where the modern ear expects to hear a resolution, and the resolution is reached; however, movement among the middle parts nullifies the effect of the cadence. For example, in m. 12, the superius and the bassus parts seem to reach a cadence point, but the tenor and alto parts continue to move catching the listeners attention away from the cadence point. This gives the piece a forward motion that moves the phrase forward. This is an especially effective result here, close to the end of section I. It gives the piece a little momentum just before is comes to a temporary close. Section I is the longest and move involved of the three sections and therefore this close is very satisfying to the ear when all of the interweaving parts finally resolve together in fifths.

The second section, section II, also starts with a chant. The bassus and tenor parts then start the canon. Section II expresses the entire second sentence of text in one long phrase with only one major cadence at its close in m. 26. This is the shortest of the sections, yet it has some of the more interesting motives of the piece. It starts out with a series of repeated notes in all four parts which then use canon to move on counterpunally (m. 20-23). Then the alto part imitates a delightful motive in the superius part (m.24 &25). Section II then continues to close at a cadence in fifths.

The third and final section, section III, encompasses the remainder of the text. Following its chant, it proceeds into three overlapping phrases with two major cadences in m. 32 and m. 41. This part of the canon starts with the alto, tenor, and bassus parts leading with the superius as the sole voice in canon. This quickly changes as the section III continues; however, this is the first time we have heard only three parts start out the canon which sounds new and different to us even though the music goes on restate the repeated notes we heard in section II (m. 28-30). Also, the second phrase in section III is a direct quote of section II up until m. 37 where the "Amen" moves into a variation on section II. The piece then culminates to a resolving cadence in fifths.

Now that we have somewhat of an understanding of the structure of Asperges me Domine , we can begin to look at the links between the music and the text. This piece can be viewed in many different ways. I see it as an ad-libed prayer. When someone is saying an unprepared prayer, he might start out with sentences or key phrases that are common to most prayers and then hope that those beginning words engage thoughts that lead to the rest of the prayer. Asperges me Domine can be heard in this way. If we consider the chants to be the beginning sentences or key phrases that start out each part of the prayer, then the following canon sections can serve as the elaboration of the thoughts engaged by...

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