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Claudio Merulo
1533 - 1604
C. Merulo
Claudio Merulo, whose real name was Merlotti (08/04/1533 - 04/05/1604), was born in Correggio nearby Modena. Merulo served briefly as organist of the Cathedral at Brescia. After that Merulo became a post as second organist at St. Mark’s Venice, in 1557. In 1566 Merulo was appointed as first organist, in succeeding Annibale Padovano (1527-1575). At that time Andrea Gabrieli (1520-1586) was appointed second organist at St. Mark’s. In 1586 Merulo entered tot the service of the Duke of Parma and became organist in the Cathedral the following year and returned to the ducal service as organist in 1591. Merulo was also active as a publisher of music in Venice. Merulo could be considered as an organ builder and of course as an organ player. Most of his works were published posthumously. Merulo should rank with the great Venetian masters of sacred vocal polyphony and he does. There are some masses in the famous Venetian polychoral (Coro Spezzati) manner, as well as some motets. Seven volumes with sacred music – motets, cantiones and masses are published, ( i.a. 1573, 1578, 1583, 1584, 1983, 1594 and 1609). His four volumes of madrigals (published 1566-1604) are written within the normal style of the period. But famous are Merulo’s several books with Toccate d’Intavolatura d’Organo. Claudio Merulo was particularly important in the evolution of an independent style in organ composition, and he made significant contributions to the development of the keyboard toccata as we mentioned before.
Author:Wim Goossens
Peccantem me Quotidie
Period:High Renaissance
Composed in:1583
Musical form:Motet à 6 vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin from Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum
The plainchant Peccantem me Quotidie is an old Responsorium/Respond form the Matins of the Dead and is published in the Liber Usualis (ed. 1936 page 1797) after Lectio VII/Lesson VII. The plainchant Peccantem me quotidie is an old Respond. There are about 138 Responsoria known used during centuries in the Office of the Dead. This motet Peccantem me Quotidie is written by Merulo for six voces AATTTB. Merulo uses only the Respond text and omitted the belonging Versicle text “Deus in nomine tuo”. Merulo uses a modest imitative polyphonic style in all parts with a low musical tuning/texture. The imitation is all over this piece except the homophonic phrases. We only mention as an example “Quia in inferno”. Merulo follows here the line of the great Netherlandish masters who worked and served at St. Mark’s. With homophonic phrase in Timor Mortis conturbat (bar 16) and further in a repeated and pleading Miserere ( bars 44-50) Merulo underlines the used text in word painting. At the beginning part Alto-I, Alto-II and Tenor III start with same theme. Tenor-I, Tenor-I and Bassus start with a contra-them. In the first 18 bars Merulo used paired imitative style as follows (Alto-I – Tenor II; Tenor-I – Alto-II and Tenor-III – Bassus). This motet consist out of 63 bars and is published in Primo Libro de Mottetti a sei voci, 1583.
Author:Wim Goossens
Peccantem me quotidie et non penitentem,
Timor mortis conturbat me.
Quia in inferno nulla est redemptio.
Miserere mei, Deus, et salva me.

I who sin every day and am not penitent
the fear of death troubles me:
For in hell there is no redemption.
Have mercy upon me, O God, and save me.
Contributor:Wim Goossens