I was contacted by Marie who shared some really valuable information about this piece. Marie's understanding of the context of the pieces composition is invaluable, so I've copied it verbatim here:
I don't know whether anyone has already told you that Saphica is not an unmeasured prelude. Instead of being forward-looking, it's looking back to ancient Rome. It's music for Horace's Ode, Iam satis terris nivis atque dirae, and the rhythm reflects the long and short syllables of classical Latin. As such, it would have moved at the speed of a poetic recitation. Horace is using the Sapphic stanza form. You can find a sung performance (different melody) on youtube.Lute Challenge Participant, Marie
Hans Judenkönig (also Judenkunig or Judenkünig) (c. 1450 – 4 March 1526) was a German lutenist of the Renaissance. He was born in Schwäbisch Gmünd and died in Vienna.
He worked as a lutenist in the vicinity of the University of Vienna and was best known for his two lute books written for the self-teaching of a lay audience.
Biography sourced from Wikipedia
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Very interesting explanation from Marie! I must say though, despite having had a year of classical Latin, I am little closer to understanding the rhythmic character of this strange little piece! (Maybe it’s time to dust off the old Wheelock?)