Haec dies quam fecit Dominus
(‘This is the day which the Lord has made’) appears as the Gradual at Mass on Easter Day, as well as a Vesper antiphon later on the same day, and at other times in Easter week. Many of these instances feature different verses, which could be added in plainchant if Palestrina’s piece were performed during Mass, but since he set only the opening words, Easter Day Vespers is perhaps the most suitable liturgy for this setting. Its brevity would commend it for a feast on which much singing would already have taken place, and the joyful triple-time setting of ‘exsultemus, et laetemur’ is naturally appropriate for the celebration of the Resurrection.
from notes by Stephen Rice © 2013