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O salutaris hostia


Transcription by Frans Wiering

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Source Loc. Title Voices Attribution


Source: Hymn "Verbum supernum prodiens", stanza 5

O salutaris hostia

Que celi pandis ostium

Bella premunt hostilia

Da robur fer auxilium
O saving Host,

You who open the gate of heaven -

Hostile wars press upon us -

Give strength, bring aid.

Editor's Commentary

This setting of O salutaris hostia, which is separated physically from the others in the Occo Codex setting the same text by the two intervening motets, is quite different from these settings in that it displays a clear seven-phrase structure. The hymn text is distributed over these phrases in an arbitrary fashion, even though the individual phrases are evidently composed with eight-syllable verses in mind. These facts imply that this composition was originally written for another text.

It seems likely that this work was not part of the original plan for the manuscript, but that it was added because there remained an empty opening at the end of the gathering. Maybe the scribe picked a composition at hand that had the right style and phrase length, and supplied the appropriate text.

Musically, this setting displays the same alternation of strict homophony and slight contrapuntal elaboration that characterises most of the other settings of O salutaris hostia from this source. The style seems related to that of the Milanese motetti missales, but no concordance to this composition has been found in the surviving sources for these.

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