Vaet’s motet Ascendetis post filium
provided the source material for the Mass setting by Galli as well as exemplifying the ‘state motet’ genre. The text is a lightly paraphrased version of I Kings 1: 35, 37, in which Solomon is anointed King of Israel on the orders of the still-living David. The analogy with the gradual transfer of powers from Ferdinand to Maximilian makes it likely that the motet was composed in celebration of the latter becoming either King of Bohemia in 1562 or of Hungary in 1563. The Habsburg family frequently appropriated ancient emblems and symbols of kingship not only from pagan sources—notably from ancient Rome, to legitimize their status as Holy Roman Emperors—but also from both the Old and the New Testaments. Written for six voices (as is Galli’s Mass), the piece generates an impressive climax towards the end of its first section, from ‘et ego praecipiam ei’ (‘and I shall teach him’)—suggesting that the monarch being celebrated was still in a junior position—and culminating in running scalic phrases, a standard depiction of joy, on ‘ut sit dux vester’ (‘so that he may be your ruler’).
from notes by Stephen Rice © 2007