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Missa Papae Marcelli

composer
author of text
Ordinary of the Mass

 
The story of the Missa Papae Marcelli is difficult to fix down in fact. The myth holds that the cardinals attending the Council of Trent were about to decide that singing polyphony in church services was unacceptable, for reasons ranging from the inaudibility of the texts to the complaint that polyphony was too sensuous and too intellectualized (quite a complaint!). There was a move to reinstate plainchant as the only permissible church music. One of the leading figures in the debate was the man who became Pope Marcellus II in 1555 and it is probable, given the title of the eventual composition, that Marcellus asked Palestrina to write a piece which would show the world that part-music could be both concise and musically valuable. Certainly in two of its movements – the Gloria and Credo – the Missa Papae Marcelli has a precision of word-setting which was innovative, though the other three movements are much more elaborate and the second Agnus Dei possibly the most mathematically complex movement Palestrina ever wrote. The evidence is rather confused, then, though it is surely significant that the syllabic style of the Gloria and Credo was recognized at the time as being novel: when the Mass came to be published in 1567 it was prefaced with the words ‘novo modorum genere’ (broadly speaking ‘a new form of expression’).

from notes by Peter Phillips © 2007

L’histoire de la Missa Papae Marcelli est difficile à établir. Selon la légende, les cardinaux du concile de Trente s’apprêtaient à bannir le chant polyphonique des services liturgiques, et ce pour diverses raisons allant de l’inaudibilité des textes au caractère par trop sensuel et intellectualisé (une vraie récrimination!) de cette musique. Un mouvement chercha donc à rétablir le plain-chant comme seule musique liturgique admise. L’une des grandes figures de ce débat fut celui qui allait devenir pape en 1555 sous le nom de Marcel II – vu le titre de la composition finale, ce fut probablement lui qui demanda à Palestrina une pièce prouvant au monde que la polyphonie pouvait être à la fois concise et musicalement estimable. Et de fait, dans deux de ses mouvements (le Gloria et le Credo), la Missa Papae Marcelli met les mots en musique avec une précision novatrice, même si les trois autres mouvements sont bien plus élaborés, le second Agnus Dei étant peut-être le mouvement le plus mathématiquement complexe jamais écrit par Palestrina. La preuve est donc confuse, bien que le style syllabique du Gloria et du Credo ait été salué à l’époque, et c’est significatif, pour sa nouveauté: à sa publication, en 1567, cette messe fut précédée des mots «novo modorum genere» (grosso modo «nouvelle forme d’expression»).

extrait des notes rédigées par Peter Phillips © 2007
Français: Gimell

Die Geschichte der Missa Papae Marcelli lässt sich nur schwierig belegen. Nach der Legende wollten die Kardinäle im Konzil von Trient beschließen, dass Polyphonie im Gottesdienst nicht akzeptabel war, aus Gründen, die von der Unverständlichkeit der Texte bis zur Beschwerde reichten, dass Polyphonie zu sinnlich und zu intellektuell sei (welch eine Beschwerde!), und es gab eine Bewegung, Choralgesang als die einzige erlaubte Kirchenmusik wieder einzusetzen. Eine der führenden Figuren in der Debatte war 1555 der spätere Papst Marcellus II., und in Anbetracht des Titels der Komposition ist es wahrscheinlich, dass er Palestrina beauftragte, ein Stück zu schreiben, das der Welt bewies, dass mehrstimmige Musik gleichermaßen prägnant und von musikalischem Wert sein konnte. In zwei seiner Sätze – dem Gloria und Credo – zumindest besitzt die Missa Papae Marcelli eine Präzision der Wortvertonung, die innovativ war, obwohl die anderen drei Sätze aufwendiger sind, und das zweite Agnus Dei ist womöglich der mathematisch komplexeste Satz, den Palestrina je schrieb. Die Belege sind also eher verwirrend, obwohl es sicher signifikant ist, dass der syllabische Stil des Gloria und Credo zu seiner Zeit als neuartig empfunden wurde: als die Messe 1567 veröffentlicht wurde, wurde sie im Vorwort als „novo modorum genere“ (frei „neu im Ausdruck“) bezeichnet.

aus dem Begleittext von Peter Phillips © 2007
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

Recordings

Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli & Missa brevis
CDA66266
Allegri: Miserere; Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli
Studio Master: CDGIM041Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Allegri: Miserere; Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli; Mundy: Vox Patris caelestis
CDGIM339
Allegri: Miserere; Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli
GIMBD641Gimell Blu-RayThis album is not available for download
Allegri: Miserere; Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli; Mundy: Vox Patris caelestis
GIMSE401Gimell (budget price)
Palestrina: The Tallis Scholars sing Palestrina
CDGIM2042CDs for the price of 1
The Tallis Scholars Live in Rome
CDGIM994
Sacred Music in the Renaissance, Vol. 3
Studio Master: GIMBX3034CDs Boxed set (at a special price)Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

Details

Movement 1: Kyrie
Track 3 on CDGIM041 [3'53]
Track 3 on GIMBX303 CD3 [3'53] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 3 on GIMBD641 [3'53] Gimell Blu-Ray
Track 7 on CDGIM204 CD2 [4'48] 2CDs for the price of 1
Track 3 on CDGIM339 [4'48]
Track 3 on GIMSE401 [4'48] Gimell (budget price)
Track 3 on CDGIM994 [4'03]
Track 1 on CDA66266 [4'28]
Movement 2: Gloria
Track 4 on CDGIM041 [5'37]
Track 4 on GIMBX303 CD3 [5'37] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 4 on GIMBD641 [5'37] Gimell Blu-Ray
Track 8 on CDGIM204 CD2 [6'16] 2CDs for the price of 1
Track 4 on CDGIM339 [6'16]
Track 4 on GIMSE401 [6'16] Gimell (budget price)
Track 4 on CDGIM994 [5'36]
Track 2 on CDA66266 [6'26]
Movement 3: Credo
Track 5 on CDGIM041 [8'57]
Track 5 on GIMBX303 CD3 [8'57] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 5 on GIMBD641 [8'57] Gimell Blu-Ray
Track 9 on CDGIM204 CD2 [9'54] 2CDs for the price of 1
Track 5 on CDGIM339 [9'54]
Track 5 on GIMSE401 [9'54] Gimell (budget price)
Track 5 on CDGIM994 [8'56]
Track 3 on CDA66266 [9'43]
Movement 4: Sanctus and Benedictus
Track 6 on CDGIM041 [6'27]
Track 6 on GIMBX303 CD3 [6'27] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 6 on GIMBD641 [6'27] Gimell Blu-Ray
Track 10 on CDGIM204 CD2 [7'39] 2CDs for the price of 1
Track 6 on CDGIM339 [7'39]
Track 6 on GIMSE401 [7'39] Gimell (budget price)
Track 6 on CDGIM994 [6'39]
Movement 4a: Sanctus
Track 4 on CDA66266 [3'50]
Movement 4b: Benedictus
Track 5 on CDA66266 [4'07]
Movement 5: Agnus Dei
Track 11 on CDGIM204 CD2 [8'06] 2CDs for the price of 1
Track 7 on CDGIM339 [8'06]
Track 7 on GIMSE401 [8'06] Gimell (budget price)
Track 7 on CDGIM994 [7'07]
Movement 5: Agnus Dei I & II
Track 7 on CDGIM041 [6'56]
Track 7 on GIMBX303 CD3 [6'56] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 7 on GIMBD641 [6'56] Gimell Blu-Ray
Movement 5a: Agnus Dei I
Track 6 on CDA66266 [4'59]
Movement 5b: Agnus Dei II
Track 7 on CDA66266 [5'01]

Track-specific metadata for GIMSE401 track 6

Sanctus and Benedictus
Artists
ISRC
GB-ADM-80-40106
Duration
7'39
Recording date
Recording venue
Merton College Chapel, Oxford, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Steve C Smith & Peter Phillips
Recording engineer
Bob Auger
Hyperion usage
  1. Allegri: Miserere; Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli; Mundy: Vox Patris caelestis (GIMSE401)
    Disc 1 Track 6
    Release date: October 2005
    Gimell (budget price)
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