Movement 1: Kyrie
Movement 2: Gloria
Movement 3: Credo
Movement 4: Sanctus and Benedictus
Movement 5: Agnus Dei
Moulu’s parody adopts many of the standard techniques for deriving Masses from motets, notably retention of the most arresting moments from the model. For instance, four of the five movements open with the rising fifth motif from the beginning of the motet, the exception being the Credo, which is headed with a homophonic passage—however, the rising fifth is retained in the bass part underpinning the harmony. Similarly, the fauxbourdon texture from the motet returns at the end of the Kyrie and Sanctus movements, where its falling lines create an effectively ruminative close for these supplicatory texts. The section of Josquin’s piece that would have been most immediately recognizable to his and Moulu’s contemporaries is the quotation of the ‘Ave Maria’ chant: this is retained by Moulu but its surprising introduction by the bassus is not: the most obvious statement of the chant is made by the tenor in the ‘Hosanna’ section, the bass harmonizing it in long notes while the soprano and alto exchange a newly composed melody above.
A final characteristic of Josquin that Moulu adopts and extends is strategic repetition. Josquin is known for repeating the same short motif several times in succession (a famous example occurs in the Kyrie of his Pange lingua Mass), and Moulu takes this to almost obsessive levels at times. In the ‘Pleni’ of Missa Missus est Gabriel, which is for the two upper voices only, the same four-note motif occurs no fewer than five times in succession in the soprano, and at the end of this section the alto has four statements of the same melodic fragment. I interpret the musical gesture of the soprano statement as intensifying a drive towards the cadence that is frequently found in early Renaissance music; additionally the ‘Pleni’ exemplifies the concept of varietas, much prized in theoretical treatises of the time, in that while one voice repeats, the other is continuously fashioning new counterpoints against it, working the melodic material to its utmost. The Mass-setting as a whole exhibits an austere beauty that recalls its distinguished model without slavishly aping it.
from notes by Stephen Rice © 2010