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Agnus Dei from Missa æterna Christi munera

- G.P. da Palestrina, ed. Gary D. Penkala


PDF Sample

Use: General, Lent
Required Resources: SATB choir
Language: Latin

The motto of CanticaNOVA Publications is Traditional Music for the Contemporary Church. This piece is a perfect example of how we bring that to reality.

Palestrina wrote his Missa æterna Christi munera in 1590, four years before his death. This thematic Mass is based on an alternate breviary hymn for the feasts of Apostles and Evangelists. Written during his final tenure at Saint Peter's Basilica, this concise Mass shows great clarity, delicacy and balance.

He quotes the first three phrases of the hymn, Æterna Christi munera, almost exactly as motives in the Agnus Dei:

  • Hymn Phrase 1: DO DO RE MI DO RE MI FA MI RE RE DO
    used to set Agnus Dei text
  • Hymn Phrase 2: DO MI FA SO LA SO MI FA SO
    used to set qui tollis peccata … text
  • Hymn Phrase 3: SO SO SO LA SO FA MI RE MI FA MI RE DO
    used to set miserere nobis text

The original Mass has two movements for the Agnus Dei, one for SATB choir using the text, miserere nobis; the other for SATTB choir with the concluding text, dona nobis pacem. Since tenors are often scarce in church choirs and singing both movements would unduly prolong the liturgy, the arranger has produced an exquisite version for SATB, with complete text, that can be sung during the Fraction of the Bread at Mass. This may be used as a purely choral setting (allowable by the rubrics), or may serve as a choral extension, after a chant version by the congregation, for festive Masses with many concelebrants.

Various formats for singing are suggested in the score. This would also make an ideal motet for Lenten liturgies or for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (A or B) with its Gospel text, "Behold the Lamb of God."


Order #: 7007
Price: $1.85


- Treasury Series
- Liturgical Setting
- Ordinary Time
- Lent
- SATB Choir
- Latin
- a cappella

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