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Missa Mente tota
6vv; after Josquin's Mente tota, part of the cycle Vultum tuum; the earliest source for the Mass is Vatican City, Cappella Sistina 16, circa 1512/7
author of text
Ordinary of the Mass

'Willaert: Missa Mente tota & motets' (CDA67749)
Willaert: Missa Mente tota & motets
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67749  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Movement 1: Kyrie
Movement 2: Gloria
Movement 3: Credo
Movement 4: Sanctus and Benedictus
Movement 5: Agnus Dei

Missa Mente tota  
© Vatican City, Cappella Sistina 16
The opening of the Kyrie from Adrian Willaert’s Missa Mente tota

Missa Mente tota
Willaert’s six-voice Missa Mente tota is based on the quinta pars of the composer’s monumental cycle Vultum tuum deprecabuntur. Josquin wrote these motets during his period of activity in Milan in the 1480s. They can be linked with devotional practices of the Sforza rulers, as they are part of the repertoire of so-called motetti missales, to which other composers such as Loyset Compère and Gaspar van Weerbeke contributed. Such motet cycles were designed to replace the standard items of the Mass (Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, etc). Josquin’s four-voice Mente tota starts with motivic imitation between the voices; from ‘ideo ne despicias’ onwards the contrapuntal texture makes room for homophonic declamation, which guarantees a clear comprehension of the text. The alternation of duets for high and low voices with tutti passages not only creates variety, but also highlights the structure of the prayer.

Willaert’s Missa Mente tota only survives in manuscripts, which are currently preserved in Rome, Bologna, Treviso and Munich. The earliest of these sources—Vatican City, Cappella Sistina 16—dates from circa 1512 to 1517, which means that this Mass could be one of the composer’s earliest pieces. Willaert might have written it during his stay in Rome (c1514–1515), when he was in the service of Cardinal Ippolito I d’Este. The Vatican choirbook also contains a five-voice Mass by Antoine Févin based on the same model. Willaert’s composition displays a remarkable feature: every section of the Mass contains a double canon, which shows Willaert’s love for complex contrapuntal constructions even at this early age. The Benedictus and second Agnus Dei are for two voices; the Osanna and third Agnus Dei are written in tempus perfectum, thus creating a climactic effect. Zarlino briefly mentions Willaert’s Missa Mente tota in Book III, Chapter 66 of his Istitutioni harmoniche and praises the work for its ‘leggiadria’ (gracefulness).

from notes by Katelijne Schiltz © 2010

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Details for CDA67749 track 4
Recording date
21 June 2009
Recording venue
Wallfahrtskirche, St Wolfgang bei Weitra, Austria
Recording producer
Adrian Peacock
Recording engineer
Markus Wallner
Hyperion usage
  1. Willaert: Missa Mente tota & motets (CDA67749)
    Disc 1 Track 4
    Release date: June 2010
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