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Missa Ego flos campi
6vv (8vv in Agnus Dei); after the Clemens non Papa motet
author of text
Ordinary of the Mass

'Vaet: Missa Ego flos campi & other sacred music' (CDA67733)
Vaet: Missa Ego flos campi & other sacred music
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Movement 1: Kyrie
Movement 2: Gloria
Movement 3: Credo
Movement 4: Sanctus and Benedictus
Movement 5: Agnus Dei

Missa Ego flos campi
The nine surviving Mass settings by Vaet mostly follow the dominant sixteenth-century formula of so-called ‘parody’ or ‘imitation’, modelling the Ordinary cycle on a work from another genre (from the mid-century onwards, typically a motet). Vaet was relatively unusual in combining more than one melody in three of his Masses; elsewhere he parodied his own motets as well as those by Jean Mouton (c1459–1522), Cipriano de Rore (1515/16–1565), Orlandus Lassus, and in the present case Jacob Clemens non Papa. Following the standard approach, Vaet opens his Missa Ego flos campi with material from the beginning of the motet; it would be normal then to proceed more or less in the order in which the imitative points appear in the model, recrafting them as necessary to fit the Mass text. However, Clemens’s motet is something of a special case: for reasons discussed elsewhere, the phrase ‘Sicut lilium inter spinas’ (‘As a lily among thorns’) is particularly strikingly set by the older composer, and Vaet makes use of this distinctive motif at strategic points throughout his Mass. The first is the climax of the Kyrie (3'45"), where it is preceded by the phrase that follows it in the model; the same ‘Sicut lilium’ phrase recurs in every movement, most noticeably perhaps in the ‘Osanna’ (Sanctus 3'25"), where it is transformed into triple metre.

Like older contemporaries such as Thomas Crecquillon, 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 ę 2009

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Details for CDA67733 track 6
Agnus Dei
Recording date
28 May 2008
Recording venue
Kloster Pernegg, Waldviertel, Austria
Recording producer
Stephen Rice
Recording engineer
Markus Wallner
Hyperion usage
  1. Vaet: Missa Ego flos campi & other sacred music (CDA67733)
    Disc 1 Track 6
    Release date: March 2009
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