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»Lugentibus in purgatorio« 2v · Anonymous


Grand-Saint-Bernard, Bibliothèque de l’Hospice, Ms. 7 (2038) ff. 60v-63v »Lugentibus in purgatorio« 2v “Pro fidelibus deffunctis” PDF · Facsimile (122-128)

The source is a processionale/troper, which was written at the Augustinian monastery Grand-Saint-Bernard or in the Aosta Valley during the second half of the 15th century (cf. Stenzl 1972, pp. 152-153). The piece is notated in a semi-mensural black notation, which uses two note values: breves (square notes) and semibreves (rhomboid notes and ligatures c.o.p.). The voices stand side by side on the openings. From the beginning, the voice without a key signature [tenor] occupies the left hand page, and the voice with a b-flat [cantus] is on the right hand page. After the first page turn the scribe accidentally reversed the order of the voices (cantus at left and tenor at right ff. 61v-63), and on the last page (f. 63v) the voices stand below each other in the order tenor-cantus. The continuity of the voices is evident from the consistent use of the key signature. The reversal has no real importance (except for an awkward leap d’-e in the left hand voice at the page turn, bars 56-57) as the voices already change places constantly and take turns in carrying out the tenor- and superius-functions.

Tübingen, Universitätsbibliothek, MS Mk 96, ff. 55v-57 »Lugentibus in purgatorio« 2v PDF · Facsimile

The source is a composite paper manuscript from the first half of the 16th century. It consists of two independent liturgical books, 1) ff. 1-38v, Lamentationes Jeremiae, containing mostly lessons for three voices (ff. 31v-32v, In festo sancti Francisci da Paula (1416-1507, canonized 1521)), and 2) ff. 39-62v, Sequitur prosa beata Maria. Both sections may be of Franciscan provenance (cf. Brinkhus 2001, p. 292). In the last-mentioned Sequentiary, probably a bit older than the first section, the trope “Lugentibus” was added as the last piece – after an incomplete sequence to St Blasius. It is in the same black, semi-mensural notation as in Grand-Saint-Bernard 7. The voices stand side by side on the openings with the voice that I have labelled “Cantus” standing on the left hand page.

Editions: Amiens 162 Edition no. 2 Appendix (PDF) and Stenzl 1972, pp. 302-303 + Facsimile 78.

Text: A very widely circulated prayer for the dead in purgatory, cf. RH nos. 10180-81 and no. 10723; Mone 1853 Vol. I, pp. 400-402; Leroquais 1927, Vol. I, p. 160, and Vol. II, p. 240; AR p. 198*; and VP pp. 239-41. This version consists of four stanzas, which correspond to stanzas 1-4 in Mone 1853. After the four riming lines, the stanzas end with a prayer “Jhesu pie, dona eis requiem”, which in stanzas 3-4 is replaced by “O Maria, ora natum pro eis”. In Tübingen 96 the poem is used as a trope for the responsory “Libera me, domine, de morte eterna” with clues for the repeats of the responsory, and in Grand-Saint-Bernard 7 the setting is placed in a section reserved for tropes used in processions. The version found in Tübingen 96 probably represents the original version of this song, while the older Grand-Saint-Bernard MS contains a reworking of words and music, which retains the refrain of stanzas 1-2 at the end of stanzas 3-4. The two nearly identical versions of the text are reproduced here below.

The clues in Tübingern alternate regularly, possibly effecting this performance: (R Libera me, V Tremens, R1 Quando celi,) V Lugentibus (1), R2 Dum veneris, V O fons (2), R1 Quando, V Ad te pia (3), R2 Dum veneris, V Clavis David (4), R1 Quando celi, (V Requiem eternam, R Libera me).

Grand-Saint-Bernard 7:

[1] Lugentibus in purgatorio
Qui purgantur ardore nimio.
Et torquentur gravi supplicio. 1)
Subveniat tua compassio.
Jhesu pie, dona eis requiem.

[2] O fons patens qui culpas aluis. 2)
Omnes lavas et nullum respuis
manum tuam extende mortuis.
Qui sub penis languent continuis
Jhesu pie, dona eis requiem.

[3] A te pia suspira mortui
cupientes de penis erui.
Et adesse tuo conspectui.
Et eternis gaudiis perfrui.
O Maria, ora natum pro eis,
Jhesu pie, dona eis requiem.

[4] Clavis David qui celum aperis
nunc beata succurre miseris
qui formentis torquentur asperis
deduc eos de domo carceris.
O Maria, ora natum pro eis,
Ihesu pie, dona eis requiem.

Tübingen 96:

Lugentibus in purgatorio
Qui purgantur ardore nimio
Et torquentur sine remedio
Subveniat tua compassio
Jesu pie, dona eis requiem.

Dum veneris

O fons patens qui culpas aluis
Omnes lavas et nullum respuis
manum tuam extende mortuis
Qui sub penis languent continuis.
Jesu pie, dona eis requiem.

Quando celi

A te pia suspirant mortui
cupientes de penis erui
Et adesse tuo conspectui
et eternis gaudiis perfrui
O Maria, ora natum pro eis.

Dum veneris

Clavis David qui celum aperis
nunc beata succurre miseris
Qui formentis torquantur asperis
deduc eos de domo carceris.
O Maria, ora natum pro eis.

Quando celi

Some words in Grand-Saint-Bernard 7 have been crossed over and changed:

1) Stanza 1, line 3, “… sine remedio”
2) Stanza 2, line 1, in Tenor “aluis” changed into “abluis”.


A simple setting of four stanzas, tropes for the responsory “Libera me”, using two different sets of music for two equal voices in the range d-e’. It does not appear to build on any known tune; however, its simple melodic phrases are clearly related to the other settings of the text (see below). In the Tübingen MS the two settings are used in identical shapes for stanzas 1-2 (setting A) and stanzas 3-4 (setting B) respectively. Setting A ends with a ‘refrain’, “Ihesu pie, dona eis requiem”. This is replaced in setting B by another ‘refrain’-prayer, “O Maria, ora natum pro eis”. This produces a formal layout with an increasing variation in pitches for verse endings and in the music as such: Setting A, ababc(R1) with the first four lines ending on D, and the c-line on G; setting B, dd’efg(R2) – the d-line ending on a fifth, d-a, d’- and f-lines on G, and e- and g-lines on D. The settings are subdivided with fermatas, and vertical strokes in the staves separate each word. The refrains are set off from the remainder by placing fermatas on each of the four first notes in both voices, similar to what we can find as section markings in the settings of »Quando deau filius virgine« (ff. 13v-16) and »Creator omnium rerum deus« (ff. 16v-17v) in Amiens 162. In Túbingen 96 each stanza is followed by careful clues for the repeats of the responsory sections.

The settings are developed from simple note-against-note polyphony, which in every line is succeeded by two-part stock cadential figures with or without syncopations. The two-voice texture contains much contrary motion and many parallel thirds, but also only slightly masked parallel fifths crop up in the opening (bars 4-5), In spite of its extremely restricted musical motives great care have been taken to vary the setting with the upper voices exchanging places and motives as well as functions as superius and tenor in the cadences.

The version in Tübingen 96 probably represents an older version of this trope, even if this source may be younger than the copy in Grand-Saint-Bernard 7. In fact, the version in Grand-Saint-Bernard 7 may have been copied after an exemplar very similar to Tübingen 96 and probably revised during the process. After the first opening in Grand-Saint-Bernard 7 the voices are placed on the pages in the same way as in Tübingen 96, with the cantus voice on the left hand page and the tenor at the right. The scribe had reversed the voices on the first opening, but forgot to continue this change on the following pages. An increased level of variation in the music was also introduced: In setting A the voices change place in lines 4-5 in the 2nd stanza; and in setting B we find the same exchange of voices in the two first lines of stanza 4; also in setting B the first line was prolonged by the introduction of syncopations (bb. 89-91 and 140-142). Furthermore, the scribe/arranger did not appreciate the closing of setting B on D, seeing that setting A ended on G, so he simply added the first prayer-“refrain” to the setting and thereby rounded off the whole nicely with a double refrain. He did not include neither the many fermatas nor the clues for the repeats of “Libera me”. The latter combined with the arranger’s care for tonal closure opens up for the possibility that the Grand-Saint-Bernard version was meant as a stand-alone prayer for the dead.

This semi-mensural setting exhibits many interesting traits: 1) The combination of a modernized, ‘non-contrapuntal’, note-against-note style combined with two-part stock cadential figures, which points towards the slightly more evolved technique displayed in the other settings of the tune. 2) The importance of constant variation of the simple material (voice exchange). 3) The use of two different settings (in Grand-Saint-Bernard 7 with a common ‘refrain’) – cf. the Uppsala »Kirie – Langentibus«. 4) The differentiation in speech rhythm between the calm beginning with its first four syllables (breves) and the following faster pace (semibreves) in every line – cf. the style of »Bone Ihesu dulcis cunctis« in Amiens 162 D (ff. 2v-10).

Contemporary or later settings of the text:

Amiens, Bibliothèque Centrale Louis Aragon, ms. 162 D, ff. 10v-13 »Lugentibus in purgatorio« 3v

Lyon, Bibliothèque de la Ville, ms. 6632 fonds musicales, f. 12 »Lugentibus in purgatorio« 2-3v

Uppsala, Universitetsbiblioteket, Vokalmusik i Handskrift 76a, no. 66, ff. 68v-73
»Kirie eleyson - Langentibus in purgatorio« 2v

PWCH March 2014, revised May 2014