Musicus Online Museum

Motet: Ave gemma claritatis

Motet: Ave gemma claritatis (Hugo de Lantins)


This early fifteenth-century motet sets two rhymed antiphon texts in praise of St. Catherine of Alexandria. Little is known of the motet’s Netherlandish composer, Hugo de Lantins, but his surviving works indicate that he worked for several ducal families in Italy in the early fifteenth century. Ave gemma claritatis appears in a magnificent manuscript of sacred music compiled in northern Italy in the 1420s and 1430s, now held in Bologna. This important source contains polyphonic mass sections, hymns, Magnificat settings, and over 100 motets in a variety of musical styles. In this setting, two treble melody voices with texts sing over two lower voices. The two treble voices are introduced separately at the start of the motet, each singing a similar melodic phrase. The upper voices share much melodic material, and frequently intertwine and overlap. The lower parts move more freely, but sometimes present short fragments of melody sung by the upper voices also. The texts of the lower two voices have been reconstructed here for this recording.

Ave gemma claritatisad instar carbunculi

ave rosa paradisi

more fragrans balsami

Katherina virgo felix gloriosa

meritis assistentes tuis festis celi

iunge gaudis


Ave virgo, Deo digna,

Ave dulcis, et benigna,

Optime nobis gaudia

Que possides cum gloria.



Hail, gem of clarityin the image of a precious stone,

Hail rose of paradise,

releasing fragrance like a balsam tree.

O Katherine, holy, glorious and deserving virgin,

unite those defending your feast

with the joys of heaven.


Hail virgin, worthy of God,

Hail sweet and kind one,

O perfect one, obtain for us the joys

that you possess with glory.


Refers to this piece of MAG art: