The Principles of Lust

Enigma’s debut album MCMXC a.D. was released 3 December 1990. It was a project led by german-romanian musician Michael Cretu receiving quite some criticism mostly for its religious themes and connotations. At the same time this album was also considered a landmark in the innovative technique of sampling. Altough the use of samples in songs had been used previously by musicians such as Jean-Michel Jarre and Klaus Schulze, in MCMXC a.D Cretu built whole songs around sequences of previously recorded parts, a method that was later adopted by many hip-hop and electonic musicians during the 90s.

The 11-minute second track of this album in entitled Principles of Lust. It is a 3-part song (Sadness – Find Love – Sadness (reprise)) which incorporates samples of plainchant mixed with a dance beat. This is most present in the first part (Sadness) and received most attention for its unique and previously unheard mix of these apparently completely different genres.

The plainchant samples used by Cretu in Principles of Lust came from the second track of the album Paschale Mysterium (released in LP in 1976 and re-issued as a CD in 1998), Procedamus in pace, by Capella Antiqua Munchen directed by Konrad Ruhland. This track was used without permission which give way to a lawsuit in 1994, after which compensation was paid by Cretu to the authors.

Cretu used as samples the intonation on Palm Sunday “Procedamus in pace: In nomine Christi, Amen”.
intonatioIn this version, from the Liber Usualis (p. 584), the “Amen” has a different termination than the CD version (A-C instead of C-A). Surprisingly I wasn’t able to find a version on YouTube that started with this intonation; it was part of the previous CD track.

Then follows a section of the antiphon Cum angelis et pueris (p. 585) with the text “Cum angelis et pueris, fideles inveniamur” in Mode VII.

antifona 2

He then uses the psalm which is attached to the antiphon. In this case it is Psalm 24:7-8: “Attollite portas, principes, vestras, et elevamini, portae aeternales, et introibit Rex gloriae. Quis est iste Rex gloriae? using the intonation for Tone VII (which I transcribed bellow).

attollite portas

Further in the song he still uses several times another sample from the antiphon on the word “hosanna”.


In the second part of the song uses two phrases from Pérotin’s beautiful conductus Beata viscera. (you can hear a great recording of this work here) The first phrase is actually the first verse of the conductus


The second phrase corresponds is the first part of the verse that acts as a sort of “refrain” which is sung between the stanzas.



3 Comments Add yours

  1. Interesting. I never knew this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Steve Smith says:

    This is real cool! Never thought where did the gregorian came from. Thanks for all the work in providing musical examples.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. gelsobianco says:

    Thank you.


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