Photo: public domain
By the mid-sixteenth century, the most popular vocal genre was the madrigal. It had started over 200 years earlier as a poetic form but composers rediscovered it during the height of the Renaissance and used the name for their secular vocal pieces.
Orlande de Lassus was a rock star of madrigals and he didn’t shy away from this reputation. His fourth book of madrigals even meant to show-quote-“that the Muses were cherished and could flourish in ‘Germania’ as well as in Italy.” Lassus finished his Lagrime di San Pietro six weeks before his death, and there’s no doubt that thoughts of life, death, and preparing to meet his maker permeated his thoughts while writing these pieces.
Ars Nova recorded all twenty-one of these madrigals on the Naxos label, let’s listen to number 21: Vide Homo.