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Adoramus te Christe (anon, Biffoli-Sostegni)


Downloadable files available:
  • Full vocal score
  • Keyboard reduction
  • Viol part
  • Audio files with pitch and count-in, in equal temperament and quarter-comma meantone

Voice ranges as in thumbnail. More details, perusal score, and audio sample below.

We sell these scores with a licence to print the number of copies you need for your choir.

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Source: Biffoli-Sostegni manuscript, Brussels, Bibliothèque du Conservatoire Royal, MS 27766

Transposition: up major sixth from original.

Difficulty: easy

Length: 02:08 mins.

Editors/copyright: Laurie Stras © 2017.

Perusal score: Watermarked. Please click here.

Celestial Sirens live, Brighton Early Music Festival, November 2017.

Notes: This anonymous piece comes from the Biffoli-Sostegni manuscript, a large collection of motets in three and four voices, dated 1560.  The choirbook belonged to two Clarissan nuns – Agnoleta Biffoli and Clemenzia Sostegni – who lived at the convent of San Matteo in Arcetri on the outskirts of Florence.

It is in two short parts, the first is an antiphon for Feasts of the Cross; the second a short excerpt of a prayer by St Gregory. The motet may have been used at the Elevation of the Host during Mass. The piece is written in a style that could have been semi-improvised, with elementary imitation and even a short section of fauxbordon-style parallel “first-inversion” chords.

Performance tips: The first phrase is in a slow triple meter – it’s worth fixing this carefully rather than thinking of the breves as just long held notes. The second phrase is more declamatory, with an odd bar of triple meter in the middle. The syncopated bar in the third phrase can come as a surprise – don’t try to breathe after the first minim! The second part is more straightforward, but again it is important to keep the tempo up and the words clear.  Altos: don’t feel intimidated by the range – remember you can take the low Ds up an octave if you have to. The biggest challenge is making that A in b.33 feel relaxed – give a little extra time for a breath, use the consonant to make the entry crisp, but float it rather than belt it.

[NB: if you use material from the site, please could you credit Laurie for the insights!)]

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Text and translation

Exaltation and Invention of the Cross

Adoramus te Christe, et benedicimus tibi
quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

Domine Jesu Christe,adoro te in cruce pendentem.
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Osanna in excelsis.

We adore you, Christ, and bless you,
who by your holy cross has redeemed the world.

Lord Jesus Christ, I adore you, hanging on the cross.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.