IN NOMINE: The Witten In Nomine Broken Consort Book
The method of composition, which has recourse to existing musical material, reworking it into a new composition, figures as a central principle of occidental music history. This applies particularly to the mass and motet compositions of the Renaissance, when this method of adopting and reworking existing music represented one of the key features of musical production. An especially vivid example – which however remains singular in its appearance – for the continuous engagement with a certain musical “theme” is the English “In Nomine“ genre dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries.
This tradition started out with the six-voice mass Gloria tibi Trinitas by John Taverner (around 1495-1545), composed no later than around 1528. To the words “In nomine Domini” the section of the Benedictus (the lyrics are: “Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini” – “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”) has a salient four-voice section, which, as cantus firmus in the alto part, contains the antiphon “Gloria tibi Trinitas” quoted in its entirety.