|Complete Josquin Edition:|
M. Pange Lingua / M. La Sol Fa Re Mi / L'homme armé Masses (2006)
M. Sine nomine / M. Ad fugam (2008)
Missa De beata virgine / Missa Ave maris stella (2011)
Josquin Des Prez, M. Malheur me bat / M. Fortuna desesperata,
(released on March 10, 2009)
Gimell CDGIM 042 | 75'27"
The booklet essay by the ensemble's director, Peter Phillips, lays out most of the striking parts of these Masses. The Missa Malheur me bat, believed by scholars to be the later of the two, is an absolutely gorgeous piece, beauty that is only heightened by an understanding of what Josquin was up to formally. As is often the case, Josquin was writing for three male voices plus probably trebles (or falsettists) on the top part. He uses the parts of the chanson in close polyphony, while sometimes also setting the superius in his top voice in longer note values. There are some glorious bicinia in the Sanctus and especially the Agnus Dei (the second invocation of the text, set for two tenors in close imitation), and in the Hosanna sections some exciting mensural shifts into triple time. In the final Agnus Dei, Josquin adds an extra altus and bass part, which follow their counterparts in strict canon by one beat. It is both contrapuntally ingenious and stunningly beautiful listening. The Missa Fortuna desperata is also set for four voices, but in it Josquin has not quite been able to square contrapuntal complexity -- in the Credo, for example, he quotes the source work in mensuration signs that gradually speed up the piece throughout the long text -- with the same ease of musical beauty, ending up with writing that is more austere.