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Homo quidam fecit coenam magnam

5vv; NJE 19.4
author of text
Responsory at First Vespers on the Feast of Corpus Christi

Homo quidam fecit coenam magnam (19.4) is a slightly unusual piece in formal terms, being a setting of an Office responsory for Corpus Christi, which, in The Anne Boleyn music book (London, Royal College of Music, MS 1070), does not observe the standard responsory structure ABCB, whereby the last section of the prima pars is repeated after a shorter but inconclusive secunda pars. Instead the source has an ‘Amen’ to close the secunda pars, and thus is clearly intended to conclude at this point. It also transposes up an octave some low-lying phrases of the soprano part as compared with the other sources (most obviously Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Cappella Sistina 42, in which the responsory form is observed). Since the London version has apparently not previously been recorded, and is more suitable for the Brabant Ensemble forces, we have chosen to present this reading. The motet features a chant-based tenor part, in canon at the interval of the fourth below in the prima pars, but at the unison in the secunda. The canonic distance is just one breve, the same as the canon of the tertia pars in Josquin’s famous Inviolata a 5. John Milsom, writing in The Josquin Companion of 2000, did not then believe the work genuine, describing the free voices as ‘largely curt or repetitive … and rhythmically nervous in a manner that suggests instrumental music rather than motet style’. By 2009, however (in Josquin and the Sublime), Milsom had changed his view, describing the Vatican source mentioned above as authoritative in its attribution, and supporting its authorship analytically. The piece is in any case an attractive setting of the parable of the invitation to the feast (Luke 14), which in the secunda pars is made to sound rather riotous, with the basses (not surprisingly) enjoying the wine at length (‘et bibite’, part 2, 0'46 to 0'59).

from notes by Stephen Rice © 2021


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


Part 1: Homo quidam fecit coenam magnam
Track 15 on CDA68321 [2'30]
Part 2: Venite, comedite panem meam
Track 16 on CDA68321 [1'35]

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