Music for Holy Cross — Sunday, September 12, 2021

Christus factus est – Felice Anerio (c. 1560 – 1614)

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In the modern Graduale Romanum, this text, from Philippians 2:8-9, is the Gradual for Passion (Palm) Sunday and The Exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 14). Felice Anerio’s setting is sung this Sunday morning as the communion motet. One of the leading Roman composers of his time, Anerio succeeded his master, Palestrina, as composer to the Papal Chapel in 1594. Most of Anerio’s early works are secular, but he began to concentrate on sacred music after his appointment as papal composer.

In general, he modeled his style on that of Palestrina, and several of his pieces were for a long time mistaken for those of the celebrated master. His later compositions, however, do not slavishly imitate the Palestrina style but contain many passages of personal expression. Anerio’s works include madrigals, both sacred and secular, canzonets, masses, motets, and other sacred music.

Gerald Harder