Alonso Lobo • Vivo ego, dicit Dominus

Vivo ego, dicit Dominus is a motet for four voices by Spanish composer Alonso Lobo (1555-1617). This is one of the seven motets he published after the masses in his 1602 Liber primus missarum (that was seen through the press by Lobo himself) the title Moteta ex devotione inter missarum solemnia decantanda, a title suitable to the devotional character of the works that were to be sung during solemn Masses extra-liturgically. This book was uncommonly successful with copies still to be found in important musical centres as the Sistine Chapel and also in the Portuguese city of Coimbra and the New World with five extant copies in Mexico.

This is mostly a contemplative motet, with the exception of the last segment, after the words “et vivat”, that enjoys more liveliness thus corresponding to the meaning of the text. Lobo’s musical language is clearly identified as that of the generation after Victoria, although he was only seven years younger than the master abulense. The difference between them was probably the Iberian influence of Lobo (which also occurs with the Portuguese composers). The carving of motives resulting in beautiful contrapuntal lines mixing calm sections with very expressive ones (i.e. Versa est in luctum) makes the bulk of Lobo style, which can be listened in Vivo ego. He lacks the smoothness of Palestrina, building the segments on contrast, fast then slow, not to paint the superficial meaning of the text but to express the conflicting emotions behind it.

The only version that I managed to find on YouTube is this 2011 live performance by Ensemble Troparion. This work has seen several studio recordings and is included in CDs by The Tallis Scholars and Musica Ficta among other early music ensembles.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. dechareli says:

    Interesting. I had not yet heard of this composer and I am curious about his music. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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