Movement 1: Kyrie
Movement 2: Gloria
Movement 3: Credo
Movement 4: Sanctus and Benedictus
Movement 5: Agnus Dei
Like older contemporaries such as, another imperial composer who however worked for the Spanish rather than Austrian branch of the Habsburg family, Vaet introduces variety of texture at particular points of the Mass cycle. Having reduced the number of voices from the seven of Clemens’s motet to a more manageable six, Vaet thins the ensemble still further, to four; this is the texture for the ‘Christe’, the middle section of the Gloria (‘Domine Fili’), the ‘Crucifixus’ in the Credo, and the Benedictus, all passages where such reduction is commonplace. Conversely, the Agnus Dei is expanded, this time to eight voices (like other composers working in German territories at this time, Vaet writes only one Agnus section, here sung twice in order to complete the text). The most audacious piece of reduced-voice writing, however, is the ‘Pleni’ (Sanctus 1'33"), a duet between two basses beginning on low F. Although beginning together, the two voices are in fact in canon, where one sings at twice the speed of the other. Canonic techniques were becoming less popular during Vaet’s lifetime, as the interest in artifice that had characterized late-medieval music gave way to an emphasis on text declamation; but composers still occasionally demonstrated their skill in this area. Vaet here manages to achieve the effect of imitation between the two parts, which in this type of canon is no mean feat.
from notes by Stephen Rice © 2009