"Regina caeli", two-part motet from Bicinia seu duarum vocum cantiones aliquot sacrae, Cologne, Gerhard Grevenbruch, 1593.In 1593 De Castro addressed his sole volume of two-part motets to Theodor von Wedich, canon of the Cologne church of Saint Gereon, explaining in the preface:"tum quia singularem ex Musica voluptatem capere & professores eius in honore, ac pretio semper habere te non ignoro, tum etiam vt me aliquo modo gratum ac memorem demonstrem tuorum in me collatorum beneficiorum"
("on the one hand it is not unknown to me that music particularly pleases you [Theodor], and that you honour and respect its practitioners, and on the other hand I wish to express in this way my gratitude and appreciation for the benefactions you bestow on me").
Theodor von Wedich was born on 16 May 1539 into one of the most influential trade families of Cologne's upper class. This family of textile magnates had gained power in Cologne politics. Theodor's father was a member of the City Council from 1541 to 1556, his brother Herman also served for over fourty years (1585-1627), and Theodor himself was member of the City Council in 1577-8 as the "Wuchermeister" ("Usury Master"?) and "Ratsherr zum Seidamte" (Councillor of the Silk Trade"). Theodor had studied law at the university of Padua. He also gained the degree of "magister artium" and "baccalaureus theologiae". At the chapter church of Saint Gereon Theodor became a priest and canon, receiving the canonicate on 1 June 1580. He died on 6 September 1593, the year in which De Castro dedicated his Latin bicinia to him. His office was turned over to Kaspar Ulenberg, the famous Bible translator and rector of the university of Cologne (1610-1), whose Catholic Psalter had been published in Cologne in 1582.
Jean De Castro was quite familiar with the von Wedich family. In 1588 he had dedicated his second book of madrigals, Rose fresche, to Herman von Wedich, brother to Theodor.
[ Listen to the Music Fragment ]
Regina caeli is one of the four Marian antiphons which, depending on the specific period within the church year, were sung to conclude the Complets (the other Marian antiphons are Alma Redemptoris Mater, Ave Regina caelorum and Salve Regina). Regina caeli was a very popular Marian motet: Lassus composed at least seven different versions. De Castro's version for two voices integrates the plain chant melody of Regina caeli in a lively counterpoint.[Translation]
Queen of heaven rejoice, alleluia.
The son whom it was your privilege to bear, alleluia.
Translated by Joseph Connelly (in his Hymns of the Roman Liturgy, London, 1957, 46)