Sancta Maria (Thomas Crecquillon)

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The Sancta Maria of Thomas Crecquillon really comprises two works with one source manuscript. The 'si ascendero…' and 'si descendero…' designations for the two works are explained in the Description section below.

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Sancta Maria 'si ascendero…'

  • CPDL #11611:      (Finale 2005)
Editor: Charles H. Giffen (submitted 2006-05-03).   Score information: Letter, 6 pages, 102 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Musica ficta clearly indicated.

Sancta Maria 'si descendero…'

  • CPDL #11612:      (Finale 2005)
Editor: Charles H. Giffen (submitted 2006-05-03).   Score information: Letter, 6 pages, 102 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Musica ficta clearly indicated.

General Information

Title: Sancta Maria
Composer: Thomas Crecquillon
Lyricist: Fulbert of Chartres

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicings: SATB or ATBB (SATB 'si ascendero…'), (ATBB 'si descendero…')
Genre: SacredMotet

Language: Latin
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1554 in Motetti del Laberinto, a quatro voci libro secondo…
  2nd published: 1558 in Cantionum sacrarum liber 6, no. 3

Description: This is actually two works with one original source score. In the margin above the Cantus part of the source manuscript, the following inscription appears, together with the beginning of the Cantus part transposed down a twelfth, in the bass F-clef:

Canon
si ascendero in caelum, tu illis es,
si descendero in infernum, ad es.


The solution to this Canon (rule) is that the Cantus part may be sung either as found in the manuscript or transposed down a twelfth, becoming a 'Cantus-Bassus' part. The italicized text is from the Vulgate edition of Psalm 138(139), vs. 8: If I climb up to heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in Sheol, again I find thee. As a consequence, one has both an SATB work with the si ascendero… solution and an ATBB work with the si descendro… solution. Except that both versions are quintessentially Crecquillon, they are strikingly different in sound and effect.

Text and translations

Original text and translations may be found at Sancta Maria, succurre miseris.