Hyperion Records

Missa Sancti Wilhelmi devotio 'Small Devotion'
composer
tenor part reconstructed; Ferial Mass
author of text
Ordinary of the Mass

Recordings
'Taverner: Missa Sancti Wilhelmi & other sacred music' (CDH55055)
Taverner: Missa Sancti Wilhelmi & other sacred music
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55055  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)   Download currently discounted
'The Sixteen & The Golden Age of Polyphony' (CDS44401/10)
The Sixteen & The Golden Age of Polyphony
Buy by post £38.50 CDS44401/10  10CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
Details
Movement 1: Gloria
Track 3 on CDH55055 [6'39] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 7 on CDS44401/10 CD6 [6'39] 10CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 2: Credo
Track 4 on CDH55055 [7'45] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 8 on CDS44401/10 CD6 [7'45] 10CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 3: Sanctus and Benedictus
Track 5 on CDH55055 [7'00] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 9 on CDS44401/10 CD6 [7'00] 10CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 4: Agnus Dei
Track 6 on CDH55055 [4'54] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 10 on CDS44401/10 CD6 [4'54] 10CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Missa Sancti Wilhelmi devotio 'Small Devotion'
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Since the Missa Sancti Wilhelmi incorporates passages from the antiphon O Wilhelme, pastor bone, it is possible that the title ‘Small Devotion’, found in two of the sources, is in fact a scribal corruption of ‘S Will devotio’. Taverner borrows from his antiphon at the beginning and end of the Gloria and in the Agnus Dei. Elsewhere the Mass is newly composed, so that it does not make the extensive and systematic use of a model that was characteristic of the fully developed sixteenth-century ‘parody mass’. The four movements (the Kyrie, as was the English custom, not being set) are instead unified through a consistency of style, mode, vocal scoring, and formal proportion.

The Mass is scored for five voices, within which Taverner makes effective use of contrasting high and low groups. Simple and clear textures, and extensive use of imitation, combine to create a decidedly more ‘modern’ music than is found in his large-scale and elaborate six-voice masses. The ‘long’ movements, the Gloria and Credo, are set in a functional, predominantly syllabic style, while the Sanctus-Benedictus and Agnus Dei are given melismatic treatment, so that the four movements are balanced in length and weight. Overtly expressive writing is limited to the conventional pauses at ‘Jesu’ and ‘Et homo factus est’, but Taverner achieves a marvellous sense of climax through his favourite device of melodic sequence in the Osanna of the Sanctus.

from notes by John Heighway © 2000

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