The Motetti a due o tre voci op. 4 by Antonio Caldara were published in Bologna in 1715. At this time, the composer was maestro di capello of the Marquis Francesco Ruspoli in Rome, having been appointed in 1709 as the successor of George Frideric Handel. In 1716, Caldara was offered a position as deputy Kapellmeister at the Imperial Court in Vienna which he retained for the remainder of his life.
The selection of the texts – taken with one exception from the Vulgate and the Breviarum Romanum – as well as the form of type printing and the musical construction of the twelve motets were already considered relatively “antiquated” for their time. Despite these shortcomings, the motets enjoyed widespread popularity – among other locations at the Dresden court which possessed a complete manuscript containing added handwritten annotations in the five vocal parts (which is still preserved today). This copy was evidently used by the church composer Jan Dismas Zelenka, although it was not among his personal possessions.