Alleluia posui adiutorium

perposui.nwcJune 20004.72 kB00:05:42
Composer:Perotin [Pérotin] (fl. 1200)
Lyricist:Psalm 88:20 (Vulgate), 89:19 (KJV)
First Line:Alleluia. Posui adiutorium super potentem, et exaltavi electum de plebe mea. Alleluia.
Genre:Gothic (School of Notre Dame)
Instruments:Male chorus and 3 solo men's voices
Submitter:Hicks, Grant
Email:ghicks02 (e-mail)
Requires V1.70
Perhaps the first composer of three- and four-voice polyphony - and certainly the first whose name survives today - Pérotin or Perotinus is the greatest of the "Notre Dame" school of composers active in Paris toward the end of the 12th century.
"Alleluia posui adiutorium" is an organum in three voices. The Tenor voice sings a section from a pre-existing Gregorian chant, primarily in long note values, while the Duplum and Triplum sing free counterpoint in a fast triple rhythm. All three voices occupy about the same pitch range, so there is much crossing. The predominant intervals are octaves, fifths and unisons, with thirds, sixths and seconds occurring almost exclusively in weak positions and treated as dissonances.
Sections in counterpoint would have been entrusted to trained soloists; interspersed among these are purely monophonic phrases of chant sung by the whole choir. Only male voices were used.
The King James translation of the text reads - "I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people."
This transcription reproduces the Pythagorean tuning common at the time.
The Hilliard Ensemble has recorded a complete CD of the works of Pérotin, using Pythagorean tuning, on the ECM label. I can't recommend it too highly. Of particular interest and impact are the grand 4-voice organa "Viderunt omnes" and "Sederunt principes", each lasting over 11 minutes. It is difficult to overemphasize what a revolutionary development this music was, at a time when all earlier music was in one or at most two voices.