The desire for the heavenly intercession of the Virgin motivated the composition of this motet: Compère’s justly famous Omnium bonorum plena
. Here an ostensibly secular song is enlisted in the entreaty, in this case the tenor of Hayne van Ghizeghem’s celebrated De tous biens plaine
, which even shares its text incipit (‘Full of all good things’) with the Latin first line of the motet. While, as in the Mass, only the music of the song is heard in the motet (its tenor in the motet’s tenor, while other voices allude to the song here and there), the double meaning of its absent text resounds just as strongly: ‘My mistress is full of all good things; everyone owes her the tribute of honour, for she is as perfect in virtue as was ever any goddess. Seeing her I have such joy that there is paradise in my heart. I have no care for other riches than to be her servant ….’ In contrast to the Mass, though, the prayer for intercession in this motet is placed in the mouths of specific individuals: the singers who are named in its text, with Dufay, ‘moon of all music and light of singers’, heading up the list in pride of place. This prayer for the ‘masters of songs’ suggests, as Rob Wegman has noted, a sense of brotherhood and concern for mutual welfare in the manner of a confraternity, and while no certain occasion for a meeting between all these luminaries is known (David Fallows plausibly suggested a meeting of the Burgundian Court, the French Royal Court and the singers of Cambrai Cathedral at Cambrai in 1468) the motet attests to a powerful sense of commonality among ‘those who sing’.
from notes by Andrew Kirkman © 2003