This motet for solo tenor and continuo was published in a volume entitled Ghirlanda Sacra
(1625) compiled by Leonardo Simonetti, a singer at St Mark’s, Venice. It is one of Monteverdi’s happiest inventions, beginning in a rapid triple time suggesting people hurrying to sing the melodious ‘alleluia’ that then follows in honour of the saint whose day is being celebrated. The two parts of this refrain are then used to punctuate the verses announcing the saint’s name, praising him, and petitioning him to hear the people’s prayer, before being coupled together again to end the piece. This is an all-purpose motet: in the text, the saint’s name is left blank for the choirmaster to fill in as appropriate to the Feast being celebrated.
from notes by John Whenham © 2004