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Lugebat David Absalon (Nicolas Gombert)

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Music files

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  • NewScore.gif  (Posted 2016-05-01)   CPDL #39500:  Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif
Editor: Adrian Wall (submitted 2016-05-01).   Score information: A4, 15 pages, 1.48 MB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Transposed up a minor 3rd. Note values halved. Some part reallocation in secunda pars to facilitate performance by SATB.SATB. Text underlay is editorial.
  • (Posted 2016-03-03)   CPDL #38758:  Icon_pdf.gif
Editor: Ben Cunningham (submitted 2016-03-03).   Score information: A4, 19 pages, 189 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Transposed a minor third higher for SSAATTBB forces. All editorial ficta are clearly marked above the stave.
Editor: Charles H. Giffen (submitted 2006-02-15).   Score information: Letter (landscape), 26 pages, 466 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Latin text and English translation included. Edition and performance notes included.

General Information

Title: Lugebat David Absalon
Composer: Nicolas Gombert

Number of voices: 8vv   Voicing: ATBB.ATBB
Genre: SacredMotetLament

Language: Latin
Instruments: A cappella


Description: This motet for men's voices in two parts is now generally accepted as being composed by Gombert. Early sources listing the motet as being by Josquin des Prez are surely erroneous, perhaps because of an oft-repeated penchant by publishers to cash in on the popularity of a particular composer, as the number of parts and compositional style are entirely out of character for the work to be by Josquin. The music for the Prima pars of the present motet is nearly identical with the music of Gombert's Je prens congie, and it also enjoyed popularity in its own time with the (poorly fitted) Easter text Tulerunt Dominum meum.

Prima pars: Lugebat David Absalon
Secunda pars: Porro rex operuit caput suum

External websites:

Text and translations

Latin.png Latin text

Prima pars
Lugebat David Absalon, pius pater filium,
tristis senex puerum:
Heu me, fili mi Absalon, quis mihi det ut moriar,
ut ego pro te moriar, O fili mi Absalon!
Rex autem David filium, cooperto flebat capite:
Quis mihi det ut moriar, O fili mi, O fili mi!

Secunda Pars
Porro rex operuit caput suum,
et clamabat voce magna:
Fili mi Absalon, O fili mi.

English.png English translation

Prima Pars
David mourned for Absalom, a pious father for his son,
a grieving old man for his boy:
Ah me! my son Absolom, would God I had died for you,
O my son Absalom!
Kind David wept for his son with covered head:
Would God I had died for you, O my son!

Secunda Pars
Then the King covered his head
and cried with a great voice:
O my son Absalom, O my son!