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Hyperion Records

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Livre du Cueur d'Amours Espris (Cod. 2597, fol. 15r).
Austrian National Library Picture Archive
Track(s) taken from CDGIM206
Salle Church, Norfolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Steve C Smith & Peter Phillips
Engineered by Mike Clements & Mike Hatch
Release date: November 1989
Total duration: 40 minutes 17 seconds

Missa L'homme armé super voces musicales
composer
author of text
Ordinary of the Mass

Other recordings available for download
The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips (conductor)
The title Super voces musicales indicates that the L’homme armé melody is quoted in turn on every note of the hexachord. This ascent starts on C in the Kyrie, proceeds to D in the Gloria, to E in the Credo, F in the Sanctus (given again, complete, in both ‘Hosannas’), G in the first Agnus Dei (incomplete) and A in the third (by which time it has at last become too high for the ‘tenors’ to sing and has been transferred to the top part). The only sections to be completely free of the tune are ‘pleni sunt caeli’ in the Sanctus, the Benedictus and the second Agnus Dei, of which the two latter are mensuration canons for two and three voices respectively. The second Agnus Dei is made particularly complicated in that the top part is given the canon in triple time against the different duples of the two parts beneath it. The second halves of the Gloria and Credo (beginning at ‘Qui tollis’ and ‘Et incarnatus est’) are based on the melody in strict retrograde, with the Credo containing one more statement of the melody, the right way round, from ‘Confiteor’ in a syncopated rhythm. It is because the mathematical framework in this Mass is more apparent than in Sexti toni that it sounds the more old-fashioned of the two. Also untypical of late-Renaissance music is Josquin’s decision to write here for four voice-parts which continuously overlap each other: the top part low, the bottom part high and the two in the middle of roughly complementary ranges. But there can be no doubt that he knew exactly what he was doing, for the characteristically dense texture of this Mass is just as expressive, though in a different way, as the rather widely spread writing in Sexti toni.

from notes by Peter Phillips © 1989

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