Da Vittoria Tomaso Ludovico
Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae, Roma, 1585
The sequence of pieces which appear on this recording, all of which are taken from the Officium Hebdomadæ Sanctæ of 1585, concisely and efficaciously recounts the story of the Crucifixion as it dramatically unfolds. The Lectio tertia introduces the song of the Passio, preparing the listener for the central event of this collection. This St. John Passion (in the 1585 edition there also appears a St. Matthew Passion), is comprised of fourteen polyphonic sections sung by the turba which are extremely brief (some last no more than three or four measures) and are inserted into a narration sung in cantus firmus. In these Passions, all of the dramatic action, in this case narrated by the Evangelist with interventions by Christ, Peter and Pilate, was an integral part of the liturgy, in contrast to the Lutheran Passions. Thus, the need for conciseness lends a high level of emotional tension to the entire work.