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Hyperion Records

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The Last Supper (1467) by Dieric Bouts (c1415-1475)
Track(s) taken from CDH55323
Recording details: December 1996
Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: May 1997
Total duration: 34 minutes 57 seconds

'This second instalment of Gombert from Henry's Eight is cause for celebration. Gombert has found worthy champions' (Gramophone)

'A magnificent piece … beautifully poised singing' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Surely an absolute classic of the years around 1530, full of details that ravish the ear. Henry's Eight presents it with a wonderful balance and tact' (BBC Record Review)

'Gloriously rich and sensitive performances of magnificent music' (Classic CD)

'Une partition puissante éclairée avec ferveur et magnificence par les voix d'Henry's Eight' (Répertoire, France)

Missa Tempore paschali
6vv (Credo 8vv, Agnus Dei II 12vv); Kyrie and Gloria based on Lux et origo from the Easter Mass; Agnus Dei II quotes the Easter antiphon Et ecce terrae motus
author of text
Ordinary of the Mass

Kyrie  [6'24] GreekEnglish
Gloria  [6'43] LatinEnglish
Credo  [9'03] LatinEnglish

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Missa Tempore paschali survives in a unique manuscript source, this one preserved in Brussels. The six-part texture expands to eight for the Credo and twelve for the final Agnus Dei. On account of the extended use of sequence and ostinato it has been suggested that Gombert’s Mass may belong among his early works; a few contrapuntal crudities (not including those that are clearly scribal errors and usually remediable) also point to an early date. The Kyrie and Gloria are based on the plainsong of the Easter Mass Lux et origo, the Kyrie being a nine-fold alternatim setting.

The eight-part Credo of Missa Tempore paschali invites comparison with Gombert’s discrete Credo for eight voices. While the latter is more polished and more powerful, both movements demonstrate mastery in working in eight parts, fine use of antiphonal writing, ease in handling large structures, and seemingly limitless invention. Particular points of interest in the Easter Credo are the three-part points of imitation at ‘Crucifixus’, identical to that developed in two parts in the composer’s Missa Sancta Maria succurre, and the remarkable bassi ostinati at ‘secundum scripturas … ad dexteram Patris’, ‘et vivificantem’, ‘qui cum Patre et Filio’ and ‘per prophetas … ecclesiam’.

The Sanctus bears no relationship to the plainsong of the Easter Mass; rather it is melodically related to the Gloria and Agnus Dei. The opening motif, however, is more akin to the melody of L’homme armé than to any other material in the work. Typically, ‘Pleni’ and ‘Benedictus’ are set for fewer voices (five and four respectively). Not so typically, the ‘Hosanna’ is set twice, the second version being in a rousing triple metre.

Like the Credo and the Sanctus, the Agnus Dei pays no heed to a plainsong model from the Easter Mass. Nevertheless, although this plainsong is officially categorized as being in a different mode, chant performance of the second Agnus Dei fits nicely between Gombert’s two polyphonic movements. The concluding twelve-part movement includes the Easter antiphon Et ecce terrae motus as cantus firmus, suggesting homage to Antoine Brumel’s twelve-part Mass of this name.

from notes by John O'Donnell © 1997

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