Like the great majority of Lassus’s Masses, Missa Amor ecco colei
is a so-called ‘parody’ setting: though no model has been firmly established, it resembles a villanelle on this text by Prospero Caetano. About a quarter of Lassus’s Mass output is for six voices, and the SSATTB voice disposition of Missa Amor ecco colei
seems to have been a favoured one: doubling the soprano and tenor lines permits contrast between high and low choirs of three voices, which the composer exploits fully. The Mass is particularly notable for the exuberant running motifs in which the soprano voices either alternate, or sing together in thirds. The Benedictus features an unusually long sequence, a device that is used to such an extent that one would think of an earlier composer such as Obrecht rather than the habitually more rhetorical Lassus. Also worthy of note is the emphasis in the Credo on the words ‘unam sanctam catholicam et apostolicam’, the Munich court having remained faithful to the Catholic church at the Reformation.
from notes by Stephen Rice © 2011