Josquin: Missa Mater Patris - Bauldeweyn: Missa Da pacem

"With Missa Mater Patris and Missa Da pacem our project to record all of Josquin's masses runs into controversy. Who wrote these pieces, and when? In the case of one of Josquin's greatest compositions, Missa Mater Patris, its style is so unusual that some scholars have questioned its authorship. With Missa Da pacem these questions become more pressing. Thought during the 19th century to be the most typical and perfect of all Josquin’s masses, it has recently been shown to be written by the little-known Noel Bauldeweyn. Or is it?"  Peter Phillips

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CDGIM 052

Josquin: Missa Mater Patris

Bauldeweyn: Missa Da pacem

Editor's Choice

As one of the most important accounts of Josquin's Masses in recent decades, Peter Phillips's albums with The Tallis Scholars continue to sparkle and inform. Already in these pages I have admired the clarity of vision and consistency of sound that this ensemble bring to his works; but with this new album there is a particular sheen to the performance that places it among their recent best.

Phillips recently wrote how he feels each of Josquin's Masses has its own 'sound world' (The Musical Times, autumn 2018). As we approach the end of his recording project, this comment comes into sharper focus, and particularly so in the case of Missa Mater Patris. One can argue that this is a late work on the grounds it is potentially a lament for Brumel, who died around 1512 and whose motet provides the model. But also, as Phillips suggests, this 'forthright' and 'bracingly simple' style could be the refinement of a lifetime's work. One could say that of this performance as well: it is scored for low voices and these singers find a warmth in the homophonic writing that blooms into an unhurried grandeur. Compared with Chanticleer (7/94) this is a much tighter ensemble in both tone and phrasing, and there are several outstandingly well-controlled spans of two-voice polyphony. Listen especially for the way these singers glide through the exotic-chord-chains in the Sanctus: I can't help but be reminded of the confident sweep of the Andrews Sisters. This is glorious stuff indeed.

Missa Da pacem was once thought to be by Josquin and recorded on LP as such several times in the early '70s, until it was shown to be by the little-known Noel Bauldeweyn (fl1509-13). Phillips includes it in his cycle as an exercise in tracing Josquin's influence. It's worth it for its especially beautiful Agnus Dei III, which is sung here with charm and tenderness. Edward Breen

Edward Breen

...the cleverly conceived Agnus Dei from Josquin's Missa Mater Patris based around the motet by Antoine Brumel, he of Earthquake Mass fame, in the new recording from the Tallis Scholars directed by Peter Phillips. And the other mass here is a mystery waiting to be cracked it seems, Missa Da pacem, thought once to be by Josquin then attributed to Franco-Flemish composer Noel Bauldeweyn but incorporating passages either written by or influenced by Josquin they think, the jury's out but Phillips hopes this performance and recording will help an informed opinion be made, he says, and even if we can't decide this is glorious music superbly performed and recorded. Just one more volume to come before The Tallis Scholars complete their Josquin Mass project, it's already a marvellous achievement.

Andrew McGregor

BBC Radio 3 Record Review

Performance *****     Recording *****

This latest disc in The Tallis Scholars' ongoing project to record all Josquin's masses reaches controversial territory. Missa Mater Patris quotes liberally from the eponymus motet by Antoine Brumel with which it's paired here; perhaps Josquin wrote it as a memorial for Brumel, but the musical style is so atypical that its attribution has been questioned.

The Scholars take the work at an aptly reverential tread, capturing its introspective - at times hypnotic - qualities. The writing is tight and spare, the composer contrasting imitative duets with richer chordal passages. Using just one or two voices to a part, this performance is both immediate and intimate: the sinewy, sharply articulated vocal lines differ from the full-bodied choral sound of Chanticleer in its 1993 recording.

More contentious still is the Missa Da pacem. In the 19th century, this setting was hailed for its 'bold, tremendous, marvellous' harmonies and long treasured in the Josquin trove. Around 50 years ago, it was re-attributed to the Franco-Flemish composer Noel Bauldeweyn, but Peter Phillips speculates that certain passages (the 'Et incarnatus' and the third Agnus Dei - a movement at once radiant and sonorous) may be by the better-known master. The Scholars realise the work with all the precision, clarity and conviction for which they are justly renowned.

Kate Bolton-Porciatti

BBC Music Magazine

The eternally resourceful Tallis Scholars have been recording the Renaissance masses of Josquin des Prés for some years now but with their latest instalment (Gimell) they hit tricky questions of attribution. His Missa Mater Patris has been debated because its style is so simple compared with his contrapuntal masterpieces, while the Missa Da pacem has now been transferred to the little-known Noel Bauldeweyn (active c1509-13).

Conductor Peter Phillips draws attention to the Et incarnatus est in the Bauldeweyn mass, whose expressive beauty beats the same text in the Josquin. As ever, the Tallis Scholars provide finely tuned, persuasive singing, beautifully recorded in Merton College Chapel, Oxford.

Nicholas Kenyon

this superlative disc ... everything about it is the best

Richard Turbet

performances ... characterised by musical flair and imagination as much as by scholarship

John Quinn

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