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Missa Vox clamantis
Lôbo’s six-voice Missa Vox clamantis (SSAATB), although published in the 1639 Book of Masses, is much more contrapuntal than the Requiem. The model for this extrovert setting, presumably a motet of the same scoring, has not yet been found and may have perished in the 1755 earthquake. It seems not to have been by the Spanish composer Francisco Guerrero (1528–1599), whose works provided Lôbo with several parody models for other Mass-settings; it may have been by Lôbo himself. It probably began with the impressive octave leaps which start several of this setting’s movements and subsections, most strikingly the opening Kyrie (to which the first words of the motet ‘Vox clamantis in deserto’ would fit rather well). The style of the writing in general shows a fairly typical late-Renaissance mixture of impressive contrapuntal devices (inversion of this octave leap, for instance, in the bass part towards the end of the first Kyrie; combining two themes in a double point at the beginning of the second Kyrie) with phrases of declamation which are pure Italian Baroque (‘suscipe deprecationem nostram’ in the Gloria, for example; or the little Monteverdian decoration at ‘Agnus Dei’ between the two soprano soloists in the ‘Domine Deus’ section of the Gloria).

The second Agnus Dei at the end of the Mass returns to very old practice by introducing an only partially notated canon in the second soprano part (the sixth voice), which bears the direction ‘sexta vox per tempora clamat’. This is a play on the word ‘tempora’, implying that the notes should be sung at the right time and in the same note-lengths. The discovery of precisely which notes were meant by this oblique reference – in fact the opening seven of the first soprano part in the first Kyrie – was made by João Pedro d’Alvarenga, after some experiment.

from notes by Peter Phillips © 1992

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