Very little is known about the motet cycle Planxit autem David
. With a few minor modifications, the words are Biblical—David’s lament for Saul and Jonathan—and they have no obvious connection with the liturgy. Given the highly charged nature both of the text and Josquin’s sombre music, some sort of political allegory seems highly likely, but the work has not yet been linked with any specific event or person. Unlike the various motets in the Vultum tuum deprecabuntur
cycle, which are musically independent from one another and were meant to be sung at different points in the Mass, the four movements of Planxit autem David
are thematically related and must be performed one after another. Not only is the text a single continuous narrative; Josquin binds together the cycle by quoting the Gregorian reciting-tone for the Lamentations of Jeremiah in the first, third and fourth motets, each time at the words ‘How are the mighty fallen’.
from notes by John Milsom © 1992