Petre/Lugentium à 4!

Philippe de Vitry’s biggest motet, the 250-breve Petre/Lugentium, got even bigger when a tenor-contratenor voice pair for the motet came to light in a parchment fragment unglued from a binding. Here it is, courtesy of the Stadtbibliothek Aachen, where it lives:


A fragment of Philippe de Vitry’s motet Petre/Lugentium surviving in Aachen Beis E 14, fol.(2)r (photo courtesy of the Stadtbibliothek Aachen)

I first ran into this source c. 2013 in a 2001 publication by Joachim Lüdtke.[1] In an article just released online by Early Music (and which you can read for free by following this link—thanks OUP!) I evaluate its significance for our understanding of Vitry, especially of his motets Petre/Lugentium and Phi millies/O creator.

Petre/Lugentium was composed by Vitry in December 1342 in honor of Pierre Roger (1291–1352) in his first year as Pope Clement VI. It is an amazing motet with spectacular hockets, made only more spectacular now by the participation of two lower voices. To supplement the article I have made two new editions of it that incorporate the information that can be gleaned from this badly rubbed but ultimately legible fragment:

an edition of the original four-voice version of Petre/Lugentium ready to be sung from and taught with, including a new edition and translation of the texts by Zoltàn Rihmer

a comparative edition of all surviving voices of Petre/Lugentium that includes the original four plus a solus tenor in Aachen and another solus tenor (confusingly labeled “tenor”) in Ivrea

I will post more soon about the issue of Early Music from which this article comes—an issue dedicated to Vitry. For now, I hope you enjoy the newly excavated Petre/Lugentium à 4!



[1] J. Lüdtke, ‘Kleinüberlieferung mehrstimmiger Musik vor 1550 in deutschem Sprachgebiet IV: Fragmente und versprengte Überlieferung des 14. bis 16. Jahrhunderts aus dem mittleren und nördlichen Deutschland’, Nachrichten der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen, philologisch-historische Klasse, vi (2001), pp.420–87.

3 thoughts on “Petre/Lugentium à 4!

  1. Dear Anna,
    Congratulations! I am looking forward to see your work. However, I can not help to leave here a passing note: your dating of the motet to December 1342 seems to depend entirely on an indirect piece of evidence unearthed by Andrew Wathey in his paper of 1993. I argued meanwhile that this document may be wrong and, taking into account the historical context and the reference to a number of political events in the texts used by Vitry, December 1351 is a much more likely date. I wonder if someone took the trouble to refute my arguments according to good scholarly practice. If not, may be you could take the opportunity to do it yourself — or endorse my reading of the evidence.


  2. Pingback: A Virtual Volume on Vitry | medieval song & sundries

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