Movement 1: Kyrie
Movement 2: Gloria
Movement 3: Credo
Movement 4: Sanctus and Benedictus
Movement 5: Agnus Dei
In fact Lassus’s three double-choir Masses – the other two are the Missa Vinum bonum and the– represented an important step in the general advance towards Baroque music. Andrea Gabrieli visited Lassus in Munich in the 1560s after Lassus himself had made repeated visits to Venice. Clearly he was influential in the development of the new idiom, and there is a certain irony in the fact that it was a Flemish composer, whose training was in techniques antipathetic to everything Baroque, who led the way. Nonetheless one admires how he instinctively avoided the tedium which later would beset so much polychoral writing and its too-obvious effects. Here his alternating phrases are quite long, so that simple imitation between the parts is possible; and he was careful to make a strong difference in sonority between passages for one choir and those for both choirs together. The result is an early, but genuinely virtuosic, exercise in an idiom which would last for at least another two hundred years.
from notes by Peter Phillips © 2009