for bass (F-e'), two violins & continuo
Campra’s drive to innovation extended also to his church music, where he was successful in gaining the permission of the canons of Notre-Dame to use violins to accompany the singers. He published in all five books of Motets for one to three voices – the so called petits motets. The first three books book appeared in 1695, 1700 and 1703 respectively, and contain in all seven worksfor one vo ce with two violins. The motet in Book 3 is titled Motet à la Manière Italienne, acknowledging the influence of the Italian cantata on Campra. Two further books of motets for one to three voices appeared in 1706 and 1720.
The two motets of the present edition, Exurge Domine and Laudate Dominum (Psalm CXLVIII), are taken from Books I and II respectively. We are grateful to the British Library for making available the copies in the Hirsch Library for study.
These motets are for bass voice with two violins: four other motets in these books are for soprano (dessus) and countertenor (haute-contre) respectively. The text of Exurge Domine is collated from lines taken from a number of psalms: it is therefore not part of a church liturgy, but would have served as a musical offering, much as an anthem or hymn. The second motet is a setting of the well known Psalm 148. Both consist of a number of airs in different time signatures and moods, and the Psalm setting also has a linking recitative passage between two of the airs: in this respect they are similar to cantatas in their structure.