Movement 1: Kyrie
Movement 2: Gloria
Movement 3: Credo
Movement 4: Sanctus
Movement 5: Benedictus
Movement 6: Agnus Dei
It has been suggested that the motive with which all the main movements of the Selva morale Mass begin is drawn from the beginning of the madrigal ‘La vaga pastorella’, published by Monteverdi in his first book of madrigals (1587) and that the Mass dates from around this period. The thematic material is indeed similar to the opening of the madrigal, but the apparently effortless flow of the polyphony suggests that the Mass itself belongs to a period of mastery rather than apprenticeship.
The concerted Mass sections printed in the Selva morale include settings of three texts—‘Crucifixus’, ‘Et resurrexit’ and ‘Et iterum venturus est’—the second of which includes violins as well as continuo accompaniment. Together, these three sections form a complete paragraph of the Creed. The original context for which they were written is uncertain, but Monteverdi indicates that they can be used, for variety, in place of the corresponding sections of the a cappella Mass.
from notes by John Whenham © 2003