Palestrina’s double-choir Missa Hodie Christus natus est
is a parody mass closely based on the motet just described. It uses all the techniques noted above which give the motet such a brilliant and striking character and, while the precise use made of the musical material of the motet varies from one movement to another, the mass bears the imprint of the motet in all its movements. The Kyrie opens with an exact quotation (with the soprano lines exchanging parts) of the opening bars of the motet, and much of the opening ‘Noe, noe’ material is re-used in slightly adapted form. In other places the material from the motet, often recognisable from its harmonic sequence, is used more loosely and is more considerably adapted and combined with other new material; but in others it is used with much less alteration. For example, all movements of the mass apart from the ‘Agnus Dei’ end with a use in the final section, with only minor amendments, of the almost boisterous triple-time last section of the motet. The result is an impressive mass which exhibits all the excitement, clarity and sparkle of its model together with a certain sense of breadth and grandeur.
from notes by Jon Dixon © 2003