Giovanni Francesco Anerio (1569-1630)

Giovanni Francesco Anerio was the younger brother of Felice Anerio, who took over the post of official Papal composer on the death of Palestrina.  He was a choirboy under Palestrina from 1575 to 1579, and likely became maestro di cappella at the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano between 1600 or 1601 and 1603. Later her served at Verona and other posts in Rome.  In 1624 he took the position of choirmaster to King Sigismund III of Poland in Warsaw.  Unfortunately he never saw Rome again; he died while traveling back home, while in Graz, Austria, and was buried there on 12 June 1630.

Today’s Eastertide motet Quid retribuam Domino is a setting of Psalm 116: 12, the appointed psalm for the day in the Revised CommonLectionary. Composed for two tenors and two basses, Anerio employs the rich timbre of low voices in homophony and clear rhythmic vitality to give emphasis to the text.


©Ryan Turner

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