Anthony Pryer
BBC Music Magazine
October 2016

The Tallis Scholars have for some years now been recording the masses of the great early Renaissance composer Josquin des Prez (d1521), and this brings their tally to 12 with a few more to go. Neither work here, both based on chanson tunes, is absolutely securely by Josquin, but still this is glorious music.

The Di Dadi Mass (the title refers to the faces of a dice, the different numbers of which dictate the speed of the underlying tune) is performed here in a subdued but fluent manner. The small choir of eight voices (females on the top line) is nicely controlled, so that the moments of exultation—the Amen at the end of the Credo, the Hosanna of the Sanctus—have a real impact. At 36 minutes overall the speed of the Mass is a little slow which leads to a slight loss of momentum in the Credo, compared with the vigorous recording by The Medieval Ensemble of London on L'Oiseau Lyre (30 minutes). The Missa Une mousse de Biscaye is based on a song about a lass from Biscaye in the Basque country. Its fantasia-like runs in the 'Qui tollis' section of the Gloria display the pliancy of this group of singers, and dramatic flair at 'Et resurrexit' in the Credo.