A Rediscovered Polish Master: Petrus Wilhelmi de Grudencz

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Program: #05-47, Air Date: 11/14/05

NOTE: Only in the 1970s (thanks to Jaromir Cerny's researches) could we identify the legendary "Petrus" as associated with some of the great compositions from late medieval Europe; this week, with David Eben and his Schola Gregoriana of Prague, we hear this lost master.

Petrus Wilhelmi was born at Grudziac (near Torun) in 1392; he received a master's degree from the University of Cracow in 1430 and entered into service with Emperor Frederick III. He was both chaplain and composer to the Emperor, and was most probably present at the Council of Basel (1431-49). While we have no record of his life after a stay in Rome in 1452, a late work referred to events from as late as the 1460s. All the music on this program is from a disc featuring David Eben and his Schola Gregoriana of Prague; it is on the Supraphon label and is CD SU 3807-2. The disc is organized by themes.

I. Divine Majesty

--Motet: Veni vere (this and many of the other pieces use the first lines of text to spell Petrus' name--"Come, true enlightenment").
--Kyrie Fons bonitatis ("Fountain of goodness").
--Gloria.
--O felicem genitricem. ("O happy mother").
--Sanctus.
--Phebus Ecclipsi Tumuli Restringens Umbram Seculi (another "Petrus" motet--"Pheobus in the dark grave").

II. Nativity

--Introit Puer nobis est natus. ("A boy is born to us").
--Cantio nobis est natus hodie. ("Born to us today of a pure virgin").
--Pan Jezis narozeny. ("The newborn Lord Jesus lies in a manger").
--Lectio evangelii Factum est cum baptizaretur. ("When all the people were being baptized").
--Preconia etroclyta ("Petrus" motet--"Let us celebrate with banquets").

III. Mary, Queen & Coadjutrix

--Antiphon Nigra sum. ("Dark am I, yet lovely").
--Presidorium erogatrix ("Petrus" motet--"Supplicant of protection").
--Tractus Laus tibi Christe ("Praise be to you Christ").
--Plaude euge Theotocos ("Petrus" motet--"Exult overjoyed, Mother of God").
--Prelustri elucencia ("Petrus" motet--"With the most brilliant light").
--Antiphon Ex te virgo ("Of you, Virgin, the fathers expected the birth").
--Probleumata enigmatum ("Petrus" motet--"The enigmatic histories of hidden portents").

IV. Saints Before the Divine Majesty

--Motet Iacob scalam/Pax eterna ("Petrus" motet--"Jacob saw a ladder").
--GUILLAUME DUFAY (1397-1474): Urbs beata Ierusalem ("The blissful city of Jerusalem").

V. Saint Martin

--Sequence Sacredotum Christi Martinum ("Christ's priest Martin").
--Presulis eminenciam ("Petrus" motet--"May the bishop's singularity in rite and harmony").
--Presulem ephebeatum ("Petrus" motet--"Verily, beatific bishop").

VI. Saint Dorothea

--Antiphon Nil territa supplicio ("By torture undeterred").
--Prefulcitam expolitam ("Petrus" motet--"Brilliant and ornate").

VII. Conclusion

--Promitat Eterno Trono Regi Ve Superno ("Petrus" motet--"With sacred awe").

Composer Info

GUILLAUME DUFAY (1397-1474)

CD Info

CD SU 3807-2