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Other, perhaps more persuasive occasions cited by scholars for the first performance of the Mass, especially given the reconciliatory and political tone of the respond verse, both occurred much earlier, in 1420: the Treaty of Troyes (signed on 21 May, in St Peter’s cathedral in Troyes); and the marriage of Henry V to the French princess Catherine of Valois (solemnized on 2 June, in the Troyes parish church of St John or in the same city’s cathedral). Since 2 June was Trinity Sunday, the relevance of the Trinity respond verse speaks for itself. Yet just as striking is the relevance of the political message of the verse to a peace treaty, beseeching God, here in eloquent polyphonic form, to ‘tighten the bonds of peace’. It may just be that Dunstaple, had he been in France at that time, could have been enjoined to compose the Mass expressly in celebration of one, or even both, of these epoch-making dynastic and political events. It could then easily have been revived for the later coronations, as necessary.
Yet whatever the exact occasions—and there may possibly be others we are overlooking—it is safe to say that the genesis of both motet and Mass must hail back to royal occasions of ceremonial pomp and circumstance and high dynastic significance. The Mass was probably written by Dunstaple as a complete cycle, though we no longer have all the movements: the Credo and Sanctus survive intact (in an important source in Aosta); the very fragmentary Gloria is much too incomplete to allow any kind of recovery; but we have included a new performing version by Philip Weller of the Kyrie, reconstructed from a fragmentary source in Cambridge (Emmanuel College, MS 300), and here presented for the first time.
from notes by Andrew Kirkman & Philip Weller © 2017