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Medieval Music Database

Impudenter circumivi; Virtutibus laudabilis; Alma redemptoris

Four-voice motet by Philippe de Vitry


Apt: Cathédrale Sainte-Anne, Bibliothèque du Chapitre, 16bis, fol. 13v-14 (4/2);
Bern: Bürgerbibliothek A 421, fol. 18 (unique Contratenor only);
Brussels: Archives du Royaume, Archives Ecclésiastiques 758, fol. 53 (Motetus, Tenor solus, end Triplum); Bibliothèque Royale 19606 (Brussels rotulus), number 10 (Contratenor & unique Tenor solus only);
Florence: San Lorenzo, Archivio Capitolare 2211 [palimpsest], fol. 79v (Triplum only, incomplete);
Ivrea: Biblioteca Capitolare 115, fol. 4v-5 (4/2) (plus Tenor solus, Tenor incomplete);
Leiden: Universiteitsbibliotheek, Fragment L.T.K. 342A (Triplum only, incomplete);
Strasbourg: Bibliothèque Municipale (olim Bibliothèque de la Ville) 222 C. 22, fol. 20v (3/2);
Troyes: Bibliothèque municipale 1397, fol. [230] (Motetus lost, 2 Tenor solus,incomplete).


1. Bruxelles, Bibliothèque du Conservatoire Royal de Musique. (A copy by Edmond de Coussemaker of 48 compositions from F-Sm 222), n5.
2. MACHABEY, Armand. 'Notice sur Philippe de Vitry', Revue musicale, X (1929), (APT16bis).


1. Le manuscrit de musique polyphonique du trésor d'Apt, edited by Amédée Gastoué, Paris: E. Droz, 1936. La société française de musicologie, series 1, vol. X, p. 49.
2. JOHNSON, Mildred. The 37 Motets of the Codex Ivrea. Vol. I: Commentary, Vol. II: Transcriptions, Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University: 1955, no. 4.
3. The Roman de Fauvel; The Works of Philippe de Vitry; French Cycles of the Ordinarium Missae, edited by Leo Schrade, Monaco: Editions de L'Oiseau-Lyre, 1956. Polyphonic Music of the Fourteenth Century I, p. 91 (IV115).

Text Editions

BLACHLY, Alexander. The Motets of Philippe de Vitry, Columbia University (M.A. thesis), p. 131.


1. Analecta hymnica medii aevi, edited by G. M. Dreves, C. Blume & H. Bannister, 55 vols., Leipzig: O. R. Reisland, 1886-1922.
2. GASTOUÉ, Amédée. 'Les anciens chants liturgiques des eglises d'Apt et du Comtat', Revue de chant grégorienne, XI (1902): 27ff.
3. LUDWIG, Friedrich. 'Die Quellen der Motetten ältesten Stils', Archiv für Musikwissenschaft, V (1923): 185-222; 273-315.
4. HANDSCHIN, Jacques. 'Die ältesten Denkmäler mensural notierter Musik in der Schweiz', Archiv für Musikwissenschaft, V (1923): 1-10.
5. BORREN, Charles van den. Le manuscrit musical 222 C. 22 de la bibliothèque de Strasbourg (XVe siècle) brulé en 1870, et reconstitué d'après une copie d'Edmond de Coussemaker, Antwerp: E. Secelle, 1924, pp. 67-68, 191-193.
6. BESSELER, Heinrich. 'Studien zur Musik des Mittelalters. I. Neue Quellen des 14. und beginnenden 15. Jahrhunderts', Archiv für Musikwissenschaft, VII (1925): 167-252.
7. BESSELER, Heinrich. 'Studien zur Musik des Mittelalters. II. Die Motette von Franko von Köln bis Philippe von Vitry', Archiv für Musikwissenschaft, VIII (1926): 137-258.
8. Guillaume de Machaut: Musikalische Werke. Zweiter Band: Einleitung zu I. Balladen, Rondeaux und Virelais. II. Motetten. III. Messe und Lais, edited by Friedrich Ludwig, Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1928.
9. ZWICK, Gabriel. 'Deux motets inédits de Philippe de Vitry et de Guillaume de Machaut', Revue de musicologie, XXVII (1948), p. 34.
10. HOPPIN, Richard H. 'A musical rotulus of the fourteenth century', Revue belge de musicologie, IX (1955): 131-142.
11. SCHRADE, Leo. 'Philippe de Vitry: some new discoveries', Musical Quarterly, XLII (1956): 330-354.
12. BUSSCHE, J. van den. 'Mensurale Fragmenten uit een Cartularium van de St. Goedele Kerk te Brussel', Handelingen van het XXII. Vlaamse Filologencongres, Ghent: 1957, pp. 366-367.
13. BESSELER, Heinrich. 'Falsche Autornamen in den Handschriften Strassburg (Vitry) und Montecassino (Dufay)', Acta Musicologica, XL (1968), p. 202.
14. THIELE, Siegfried. 'Zeitstrukturen in den Motetten des Philippe de Vitry und ihre Bedeutung für zeitgenossisches Komponieren', Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, CXXXV/7 (1974), pp. 428-429.
15. SANDERS, Ernest H. 'The early motets of Philippe de Vitry', Journal of the American Musicological Society, XXVIII (1975): 24-45.
16. GREENE, Gordon K. 'Incipient Ars nova in the Brussels rotulus', Studies in Music (Canada), I (1976), pp. 10-11.
17. GALLO, F. Alberto. Il Medioevo, vol. II, Turin: Edizioni di Torino, 1977. [English translation as Music of the Middle Ages, vol. II, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985], pp. 36-37.
18. ANDERSON, Gordon A. 'New sources of medieval music', Musicology [Australia], VII (1982), p.3.
19. TOMASELLO, Andrew. Music and Ritual at Papal Avignon, 1309-1403, Ann Arbour, Michigan: UMI Research Press, 1983.
20. D'ACCONE, Frank. 'Una nuova fonte dell' "Ars nova" italiana: il codice di San Lorenzo, 2111', Studi Musicali, XIII (1984): 3-31.
21. NADAS, John. 'Editorial practices in early Quattrocento Florentine anthologies of secular polyphony', L'Ars nova italiana del Trecento VI: Certaldo 1984, Certaldo: Centro di Studio L'ars nova italiana, 1992.
22. WATHEY, Andrew. 'The motets of Philippe de Vitry and the fourteenth-century Renaissance', Early Music History, 12 (1993), p. 128.


1. ?, Columbia University Collegium Musicum, directed by Alexander Blachly (1972): Collegium Stereo JE 113.
2. Music au temps des Papes en Avignon, Florilegium Musicum de Paris, directed by Jean-Claude Malgoire (1973): CBS Masterworks 76534.
3. Music of the Gothic Era [c.1160 - 1400], Early Music Consort of London, directed by David Munrow (1975): Archiv 2723 045(3) (EUR)/ 2710 019(3) (GER/USA).
4. Philippe de Vitry 1291-1361, Benjamin Bagby and Barbara Thornton, Sequentia (1991): RD 77 095.
5. Philippe de Vitry and the Ars Nova, Robert Hare-Jones (CT), Charles Daniels (T), Angus Smith (T), Donald Greig (Bar), Orlando Consort (1991): CD-SAR 49.


Impudenter circumivi
solum quod mare terminat
indiscrete concupivi
quidquid amantem inquinat
si amo forsan nec amor
tunc pro mercede crucior
aut amor nec in me amor
tunc ingratus efficior
porro cum amor et amo
mater Aeneae media
in momentaneo spasmo
certaminis materia
ex quo caro longe fetet
ad amoris aculeos
quis igitur ultra petet
uri amore hereos?
fas est vel non est mare
fas est. quam ergo virginem?
que meruit bajulare
verum deum et hominem
meruit quod virtuosa
pre cunctis plena gratia
potens munda speciosa
dulcis humilis et pia.
cum quis hanc amat amatur
est ergo grata passio
sui amor quo beatur
amans amoris basio
O maria virgo parens
meum sic ure spiritum
quod amore tuo parens
amorem vitem irritum.

Virtutibus laudabilis
moribus commendabilis
specie peramabilis
puritate legibilis
kari desiderabilis
genere venerabilis
potentia terribilis
artibus profanabilis
miraculis mirabilis
Maria caro nobilis
esse carni sit utilis
velis quod per te labilis
spiritus infamibilis
tandem reddatur humilis
ac deo acceptabilis.

Alma redemptoris.


Shamelessly I used to wander
over all the earth bounded by the sea;
recklessly I lusted
after anything that could corrupt loving.
When I was in love, but perhaps not loved.
I would be tormented for payment;
or if I was loved, but love was not in me.
I became unpleasant.
But when I loved and was loved
(I would join) on the occasion of this "match"
with any common Venus
in surging spasms.
after which my flesh would reek for a long wile
from the darts of love.
Well, what hero wishes to be burned by love
beyond a certain point?
This is not to say that loving should be prohibited.
But what girl should be loved?
She who was worthy to carry within her
the true God and Man;
worthy, because she was virtuous
and full of grace beyond all others.
strong in her pure beauty.
sweetness, humility and holiness.
When one loves this lady, he is loved in turn.
This is then a pleasant passion.
Love is made happy by him
who loves with the kiss of love itself.
O Mary, virgin parent.
burn my soul.
so that, obedient to your love.
I may avoid false love.

Laudable in virtue
commendable for character
lovely in appearance
undefiled in purity
desirable for preciousness
venerable in ancestry
awesome in power
with moral qualities beyond speech
wondrous in miracles.
O Mary, you are noble flesh.
It would be profitable to be of flesh
if you wished that through your graces
my wavering spirit might be restored
from wickedness to true humility
and become acceptable to God.


Text revision and translation © Alexander Blachly

Content Approved by: MMDB Director
Last updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2003

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