Y TEACHER knew Robert Murrell Stevenson (d. 2012) personally, because Roger Wagner (d. 1992) was very close to Stevenson. Stevenson taught at UCLA, and Wagner was director of Choral Activities at UCLA. My teacher also knew Monsignor Higinio Anglès (d. 1969)—and they spoke together in German, since both were fluent in German. Stevenson did much of his research in South America and Central America, whereas Anglès (from Catalonia) did much of his research in Rome. Anglès produced the complete works (“Opera Omnia”) of Cristóbal de Morales.
Stevenson (d. 2012) tells the fascinating story of this motet by the young Father Morales:
Father Morales wrote his 6-voice motet (“Jubilate Deo omnis terra”) for the June 1538 peace celebrations at Nice. It was at this Riviera haven that Pope Paul III finally succeeded in persuading Charles V and Francis I to conduct a peace parley. Convinced that music might somehow soothe the principals to a peace treaty, Pope Paul III brought along twenty of his own singers: all richly garbed in new velvet cassocks and silk surplices (the cost of these sumptuous garments having been paid for out of his private discretionary funds). Morales’s motet evidently made the desired impression, if its long-continuing popularity after the peace conference is accepted as sufficient evidence. The printing of the vocal parts—first at Lyons in 1542 and then at Venice in 1549—testify to the continuing popularity of a cantata that can have been conceived originally as no more than an occasional composition.
Nobody knows who made this recording!
…but it might have been Roger Wagner:
“Rejoice in the Lord, all ye lands; sing joyfully; rejoice and tell His praises. For, through the mediaton of Pope Paul III, CHARLES V (Carolus) and Francis I (those kings of vast domains) have agreed to unite; and peace descends from Heaven. —— O happy age, O happy Paul, O ye happy princes who have delivered peace to the Christian people. Long live Paul! Long live Charles! Long live Francis! Long may they live together, and may they give us peace for ever!”
I prefer this old recording—but there are plenty of modern recordings available if you don’t like it.
Here’s my question: What if peace had not been concluded? Would the composition have gone to waste?
Here is an example of how the Part Books looked.