Like the Missa Da pacem
, once considered a prime embodiment of Josquin’s late maturity, Ave caro Christi cara
may more reasonably be ascribed to the highly gifted though much less familiar Noel Bauldeweyn. This conclusion certainly seems logical on the evidence of the sources: of four known to have existed, only the latest, a German print by Montanus and Neuber of 1564, ascribes it to Josquin, while of the other three, all apparently Netherlandish and some forty years earlier, two give it to Bauldeweyn. But the style and response to text in this elevation motet led Edgar Sparks to make a powerful case that the late ascription to Josquin may yet be the correct one: Sparks drew attention to the typically detailed musical architecture of the setting, with its subtle use of repetition and carefully graded alternations between fervent supplications in block chords and more active passages with more plangent counterpoint; on the other hand, he acknowledged the close stylistic relationship that exists between some works of the two composers. Whether the work of Josquin or Bauldeweyn, however, the extraordinary musical eloquence brought to bear by this motet on the collection of eucharistic prayers that constitute its text fashions an ornament of the utmost beauty for the elevation in the Mass – the central and summatory moment of late medieval Christian devotion – that it was created to adorn.
from notes by Andrew Kirkman © 2001