Adrian Horsewood
Early Music Today
November 2018

This is volume 7 of a planned nine recordings by the Tallis Scholars that will present all of Josquin's published Mass settings. Inevitably, the more famous works have been taken care of already, but if you think that the relative obscurity of these two settings—based, respectively, on the plainsong introit for the Feast of All Saints (1 November) and on a popular yet simple chanson with smutty connotations—means a reduction in quality, then you'd be very wrong indeed. As Peter Phillips writes, 'Josquin's restless, searching intellect is on display in every one of his Mass settings, yet few offer as great a contrast as Missa Gaudeamus and Missa L'ami Baudichon. Can the same man write so diversely? I say genius on this scale knows no rules.'

While the Tallis Scholars respond to the more sober intricacy of the Gaudeamus setting with their customary precision in all matters choral, it's in the secular-derived Mass where they really excel, responding to Josquin's weaving, diving, swirling lines and audacious, bold harmonic movements with obvious enjoyment. It's an outstanding performance, and bodes well for the remaining two instalments of the Josquin journey.