The Compline responsory In pace
represents Moulu at the opposite end of his compositional style from Mater floreat
. Whereas the latter is forthright and declamatory, highlighting the named composers and employing fanfare-like imitative points to begin and end the piece to the glory of France’s king and queen, In pace
responds to its text by creating a dreamlike soundscape, with long, highly melismatic lines and few obvious cadences. The texture is based around the lower voices: the tenor operates in canon at the upper fifth (in the ‘Gloria Patri’ the upper voice leads and the tenor follows) and, as in many canonic pieces at this time, is largely in longer notes and has a restricted range. It is left to the three free parts to weave the melismatic texture around these two fixed points, therefore. The text was set by several composers in the first half of the sixteenth century, and unusually for responsory settings, the polyphony is given—by others such as the Englishmen John Blitheman, John Taverner, and John Sheppard as well as Moulu—to the sections that would be sung by a soloist in performance of the plainsong responsory.
from notes by Stephen Rice © 2010