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  • DIXIT DOMINUS Vivaldi, Mozart, Handel
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DIXIT DOMINUS Vivaldi, Mozart, Handel
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Reference: AVSA 9918

    M. Mathiéu, H. Bayodi-Hirt, A. Roth Constanzo, M. Sakurada, F. Zanasi

  • La Capella Reial de Catalunya
  • Le Concert des Nations
  • Jordi Savall

Dixit Dominus is the opening text of the Catholic Church’s Latin version of Psalm 110 (Psalm 110 according to the original Hebrew numbering, Psalm 109 according to the Greek Septuagint, which was subsequently adopted by the Vulgate). Traditionally attributed to King David, it most likely refers to a victory of Israel over its enemies, led by King David, who, figuratively speaking and using a symbol of Oriental origin, made his enemies a footstool for his feet (verse 1); it has also been suggested that it formed part of a coronation ceremony (“Sit at my right hand”, verse 1), perhaps belonging to the rite described in verse 9. In the rather confusing opening text, which reads “Oracle of the Lord to my Lord”, the first of these Lords is presumably God, while the second is King David himself. Later, in the New Testament, the text was interpreted as referring to the Messiah, in which the second Dominus referred not to David but to Jesus Christ.

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DIXIT DOMINUS

Dixit Dominus is the opening text of the Catholic Church’s Latin version of Psalm 110 (Psalm 110 according to the original Hebrew numbering, Psalm 109 according to the Greek Septuagint, which was subsequently adopted by the Vulgate). Traditionally attributed to King David, it most likely refers to a victory of Israel over its enemies, led by King David, who, figuratively speaking and using a symbol of Oriental origin, made his enemies a footstool for his feet (verse 1); it has also been suggested that it formed part of a coronation ceremony (“Sit at my right hand”, verse 1), perhaps belonging to the rite described in verse 9. In the rather confusing opening text, which reads “Oracle of the Lord to my Lord”, the first of these Lords is presumably God, while the second is King David himself. Later, in the New Testament, the text was interpreted as referring to the Messiah, in which the second Dominus referred not to David but to Jesus Christ.

This is one of the best known psalms, because since the Middle Ages it has taken pride of place at the beginning of Sunday Vespers, that part of the Divine Office which corresponds to evening prayer. This would explain the large number of composers who have written music for this psalm, especially since the Renaissance, as many places of worship required music to be composed for performance at major religious services on special feast days. Often, therefore, these verses were set to music by the chapel master of the church in question, or by some other well-known musician who was commissioned to compose the music or merely copy an already existing version. Whatever the case may be, there was a need for polyphonic or concertante music, depending on the tastes and practice of the time, for this part of the liturgy. As well as the famous composers who wrote settings of the Dixit Dominus, such as Francisco Guerrero, Tomás Luis de Victoria, Giovanni Gastoldi, Felice Anerio, Claudio Monteverdi, Alessandro Grandi, Orazio Benevoli, Dietrich Buxtehude, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Alessandro Scarlatti, Nicola Porpora, Johann Adolph Hasse and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, this recording includes other more modern composers such as Andreas Romberg.

The text consists of 7 verses which, in one way or another, determine the musical structure of the compositions by Vivaldi and Handel, and, to a lesser extent, that of Mozart. In the version of the psalm that is included in the liturgy and set to music by these composers, the doxology (Gloria Patri) comes at the end.

JOSEP MARIA VILAR

(Extract of CD text)

Translated by Jacqueline Minett