Movement 1: Kyrie
Movement 2: Gloria
Movement 3: Credo
Movement 4: Sanctus and Benedictus
Movement 5: Agnus Dei
The most impressive writing of all comes at the start of each of Rore’s Mass movements, where he develops the magisterial opening of Josquin’s motet. In the Kyrie Josquin’s version is given almost straight for lower voices, though Rore adds a new line in the second alto. In the Gloria an inversion of Josquin’s ascending scale is used alongside its original; this occurs again in the Credo in a more ornate form. But it is only in the Sanctus and Agnus Dei that the full potential of Rore’s two soprano parts becomes apparent in the context of this phrase, which seems to have expanded and broadened. The Sanctus opens with long rhapsodic lines in a widely-spaced sonority; the Agnus Dei goes a stage further in involving all the voices from the outset and for the first time underpinning everything with a statement of the song. In general the song is not heard until a movement or a section is well under way, when the extreme length of its notes effectively prevents it from blending into the texture. Only in two reduced-voice passages, the ‘Pleni’ and ‘Benedictus’ (both in the Sanctus), is it omitted altogether.
from notes by Peter Phillips © 1994