Gombert: Missa Tempore paschali & other sacred music
CDH55323 Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 1: Kyrie
Movement 2: Gloria
Movement 3: Credo
Movement 4: Sanctus
Movement 5: Benedictus
Movement 6: Agnus Dei
The eight-part Credo of Missa Tempore paschali invites comparison with Gombert’s discrete. 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