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Mittit ad virginem

4vv; NJE 24.6
author of text
Sequence for the Annunciation; attributed

We begin with the Annunciation sequence Mittit ad virginem (NJE 24.6), most likely an early work of Josquin, though some doubt has recently been cast on its attribution due to the existence of a handwritten attribution to ‘Petrus’ (usually known by the diminutive Pierrequin) de Thérache (c1470-1528) in the copy of the Petrucci print Motetti C owned by Heinrich Glarean (1488-1563). Glarean’s famous treatise Dodecachordon (Basel, 1547) was instrumental in establishing Josquin’s reputation as the greatest Renaissance composer, hence if Glarean believed that Mittit ad virginem was not authentic, its place in the canon would be significantly undermined. It is interesting to note in this context that Thérache’s motet Verbum bonum et suave, found in the Medici Codex (Florence, Biblioteca Medicea-Laurenziana, MS Acquisti e doni 666), begins in exactly the same way as the present work. Mittit ad virginem is a charming piece, suffused with the plainsong melody and (as the late Ludwig Finscher observed) presenting many differing compositional techniques, in the service of the fifteenth-century ideal of varietas. The prima pars is in duple time, though the sequence melody, found in the soprano for the most part, preserves the alternation of breves and semibreves which would have characterized a rhythmicized performance of the plainchant. The secunda pars opens with a lively upper-voice duet in triple time, which reverts to duple for a contrasting trio section. A different triple mensuration (with the semibreve rather than the breve as the triple value) brings the first full texture of the pars, before a final reversion to duple at ‘Qui nos salvet’, the closing doxology with which Josquin (or conceivably Thérache) replaces the last two stanzas of the sequence.

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2021


Josquin: Motets & Mass movements
Studio Master: CDA68321Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Part 1: Mittit ad virginem
Track 1 on CDA68321 [5'13]
Part 2: Accede nuntia
Track 2 on CDA68321 [2'42]

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