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Deus tuorum militum, SV280
setting II; Himnus unius martyris; from Selva morale e spirituale (1640/1)
author of text
Hymn at Vespers for the Common of One Martyr

'Monteverdi: Sacred vocal music' (CDH55345)
Monteverdi: Sacred vocal music
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55345  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Track 9 on CDH55345 [2'07] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)

Deus tuorum militum, SV280
A Vesper hymn for the feast of a martyr. Monteverdi sets it to a graceful triple-time melody which must come close to Beethoven’s ideal of a melody that combines beauty with simplicity. Three verses are provided in the Selva morale, which correspond to verses 1, 3 and 5 of the hymn. Although there is a possibility that the even-numbered verses would have been sung in alternate fashion to plainsong, it is most likely that the string ritornello would have served as a substitute in a Venetian Vespers of the period. At first sight it appears that the top vocal part is intended for a tenor as it is printed in the tenor clef. But it is placed in the alto partbook, which suggests that it may have been intended to sound an octave higher.

from notes by Peter Holman © 1981

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