Palestrina: Missa Dum complerentur & other music for Whitsuntide
CDH55449 Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 1: Kyrie
Movement 2: Gloria
Movement 3: Credo
Movement 4: Sanctus
Movement 5: Benedictus
Movement 6: Agnus Dei
All five sections begin with a variant of the motet’s opening, but the way in which the rest of the model’s material is treated thereafter varies considerably from section to section. It is in the Gloria that the model’s identity is most clearly audible, though the original order of the phrases is not maintained; it is in many respects the most ‘workmanlike’ of the sections of the Mass, dispatching as it does its considerable quantity of text with efficiency and utter certainty, liberally employing declamatory writing for the purpose. In the Credo, on the other hand, the music of the motet is treated with ever-increasing freedom, extrapolating from the model and developing. Of particular note is the way in which the descending figure that accompanies the word ‘Alleluia’ is kept in reserve and used only at certain significant points, notably the two visions of the Kingdom to come to be found in the text of the Creed, after ‘Et resurrexit’ and at the end, ‘et vitam venturi saeculi’.
The Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei, on the other hand, while they also take the music in new directions, show their basis in the motet much more clearly, and attain a luminous majesty in their finely sculpted lines. In the Benedictus, however, the thematic deconstruction achieved by the double imitative point takes us into quite a different realm, revisited in the second Agnus Dei, which brings back the descending music of the ‘Alleluia’ in its final supplications for peace.
from notes by Ivan Moody © 2003