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Missa Puisque je vis
probable composer of music
author of text
Ordinary of the Mass

'Dufay: Missa Puisque je vis & other works' (CDH55423)
Dufay: Missa Puisque je vis & other works
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55423  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Movement 1: Kyrie
Track 1 on CDH55423 [5'13] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 2: Gloria
Track 2 on CDH55423 [6'28] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 3: Credo
Track 3 on CDH55423 [8'34] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 4: Sanctus
Track 4 on CDH55423 [5'27] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 5: Benedictus
Track 5 on CDH55423 [3'00] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 6: Agnus Dei
Track 6 on CDH55423 [5'53] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)

Missa Puisque je vis
The Missa Puisque je vis has been on the fringes of the Dufay canon since 1963, when Laurence Feininger suggested the attribution in his edition of the Mass. Like many of Feininger’s ascriptions to Dufay, this one was made on stylistic grounds which he promised to defend in a monograph that never, in the event, appeared. While his suggestions met with understandable scepticism, the discoveries of subsequent scholarship have garnered strong support for some of his ascriptions on the basis of external evidence. It seemed clear that his connoisseurship—especially considering the state of knowledge in the period in which he was working—was of a remarkably high order, and that any Feininger attribution is worthy of the closest consideration.

The aural impression of the Mass strongly underscores the plausibility of Feininger’s suggestion: to listen to the Missa Puisque je vis against a background of familiarity with Dufay’s musical language is to be immersed in a style that is instantly recognizable. And whether or not (as seems unlikely) we will ever be able to prove Dufay’s authorship of this piece, those who admire his music will quickly appreciate that it is on a level entirely comparable to that of his firmly attributed late Masses. In particular, the Mass shares much with his Missa Ecce ancilla Domini which, with a copying date in the early 1460s, is probably its close contemporary. Both Masses are cast in a texturally open and melodically lucid style of the greatest elegance and flexibility.

Like the majority of Masses of the later fifteenth century, the Missa Puisque je vis is built on the music of a courtly song praising an unattainable lady who, in the context of the Mass, becomes the Virgin, prime intercessor for human souls. The text of the song, whose tenor—in standard fashion—forms the tenor of the Mass, makes the double meaning clear: ‘Ever since I saw the gracious glance and the beauty of my lady and mistress I am filled with joy and regain my happiness, relieved of all the ills I have suffered. Hoping that I may be ever better in her sight, all my life to serve her youthfulness … I wish to hold to the amorous path and the road to love by the straightest route …’ The song survives in ten manuscripts, anonymously in all but one, where it is ascribed to Dufay himself.

from notes by Andrew Kirkman © 2003

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA67368 track 5
Recording date
26 July 2002
Recording venue
All Saints, Tooting, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Neil Hutchinson
Hyperion usage
  1. Dufay: Missa Puisque je vis & other works (CDA67368)
    Disc 1 Track 5
    Release date: June 2003
    Deletion date: March 2010
    Superseded by CDH55423
  2. Dufay: Missa Puisque je vis & other works (CDH55423)
    Disc 1 Track 5
    Release date: September 2013
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
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