The funerary motet Cur Fernande pater
is for Elizabeth of Poland, the Emperor Charles’s niece and a particular favourite of his. She had married Sigismund, King of Poland, in 1543; her leaving of the Habsburg courts had been marked with the gift of a chanson and a Mass based upon it, both by Crecquillon. Elizabeth died in 1545, possibly poisoned—the victim of intrigue in the Polish court, it was rumoured. Charles and the Archduke Ferdinand, her father, were together when the news reached them. A few days later, formal obsequies were held, attended by representatives from a number of different countries as well as by Elizabeth’s family. Again, Crecquillon was called on to provide suitable music and, despite the pedestrian text with which he had to work and the limited time, he produced a work that conveys the very real emotion that Elizabeth’s family must have felt.
from notes by Martin Ham © 2006