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Harmonia Caelestis: 16th century Spanish Motets for Voice & Lute

by Mignarda

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Our seventh release, this evocative recording highlights the intense devotional imagery of 16th century Spanish composers including Cristóbal de Morales, Francisco Guerrero, and Tomás Luis de Victoria.

In returning to the sacred polyphony that brought us together, we have arranged the program as an extended meditation, following the example of our forebears in selecting and adapting the best examples of polyphonic sacred music for private devotions. Originally composed for four or five voices, we present them here in historically sensitive interpretations for solo voice and lute, interspersed with solo lute settings of motets and mass movements.


We met in a tiny schola, singing Gregorian chant and polyphony for a weekly Latin Mass at Immaculate Conception Church in Cleveland, Ohio. Since this is the way the average professional musician would have begun a career in 16th century, there could have been no better or more appropriate training ground for the music we do. So this project has been particularly meaningful for us, and a joy to prepare. We respectfully dedicate this album to the celebrants and the schola at Immaculate Conception - to all the singers whose decades of service have kept this music truly alive, in the functional tradition and context that inspired its creation. May this project serve as an extension of that tradition.


released August 15, 2010

Donna Stewart, voice
Ron Andrico, lute

Recorded, mixed & mastered by Will Russell at Electric Wilburland Studio, Newfield, NY

All performing scores copyright Mignarda Editions.



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Mignarda Danby, New York

Mignarda specializes in thoughtful programming illuminating the vibrant mingling of renaissance music & poetry. Noted for awakening modern audiences to an appreciation for historical music, their work encompasses concertizing, teaching & recording, with ten critically-acclaimed CDs, a series of 12 music editions, scholarly articles, reviews and the internationally-popular blog, Unquiet Thoughts. ... more

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Track Name: Senex puerum portabat
Senex puerum portabat:
puer autem senem regebat:
quem virgo peperit,
et post partum virgo permansit:
ipsum quem genuit, adoravit.

An old man carried the child,
yet the child ruled the old man.
Him whom the virgin had borne
- after which she remained for ever a virgin -
she herself worshipped.
Track Name: O crux benedicta
O crux benedicta
quae sola fuisti digna portare talentum mundi.
Dulce lignum, dulces clavos, dulcia ferens pondera,
super omnium ligna cedrorum tu sola excelsior,
in qua vita mundi pependit,
in qua Christus triumphavit,
et mors mortem superavit in aeternum.

O blessed cross,
which alone was worthy to bear the weight of the world.
Sweet the wood, sweet the nails, bearing sweet weights.
You alone surpass all the wood of cedar,
upon which the salvation of the world hung,
Upon which Christ triumphed
and overcame death forever.
Track Name: Ave Maria (Gregorian chant)
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
nunc et in hora mortis nostae. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
now and at the hour of our death. Amen
Track Name: Salve Regina
Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiae,
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
ad te clamamus
exsules filii Hevae,
ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.

Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos
misericordes oculos ad nos converte;
et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy,
our life, our sweetness, and our hope.
To you we cry, the children of Eve;
to you we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this land of exile.

Turn, then, most gracious advocate,
your eyes of mercy toward us;
lead us home at last
and show us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus:
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.
Track Name: Ave Virgo sanctissima
Ave virgo sanctissima
Dei mater piisima
Maris stella clarissima
Salve semper gloriosa
Margarita pretiosa
Sicut lilium formosa
Nitens olens velut rosa

Hail, Holy Virgin,
most blessed Mother of God,
bright star of the sea.
Hail, ever glorious,
precious pearl,
lovely as the lily,
beautiful and perfumed as the rose.
Track Name: Oculi mei semper ad Dominum
Oculi mei semper ad Dominum,
quia ipse evellet de laqueo pedes meos:
respice in me, et miserere mei.

My eyes are ever towards the Lord:
for He shall pluck my feet out of the snare:
look Thou upon me, and have mercy on me.
Track Name: Pater Noster
Pater Noster
qui es in caelis,
sanctificetur nomen tuum.
Adveniat regnum tuum.
Fiat voluntas tua,
sicut in caelo et in terra.
Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie,
et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
sicut et nos
dimittimus debitoribus nostris.
Et ne nos inducas in tentationem:
sed libera nos a malo.