Philippe de Monte composed motets only in the second part of his career, from 1568 onwards. The two-part motet for six voices Usquequo Domine oblivisceris me?
, which Schoendorff chose as the model for his Mass, was published in Venice in 1587. It is a setting of the six verses of Psalm 12 (Vulgate). The use of the Psalms in the Roman Catholic liturgy at this period seems to have been influenced by the Protestant practice of performing them in full. By the late 1580s Philippe de Monte, now a sexagenarian personally affected by the often itinerant life (one need only think of the many imperial diets) and the financial difficulties of the court, was in such bad health and poor spirits that he expressed a desire to resign from the court. In this context, the setting of this Psalm takes on special significance and seems to reflect the Kapellmeister’s state of mind.
from notes by Bénédicte Even-Lassmann © 2011
English: Charles Johnston