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Briefly Noted: Revenons à Mouton

available at Amazon
J. Mouton, Missa Dictes moy toutes voz pensées, Tallis Scholars

(released on October 9, 2012)
Gimell CDGIM 047 | 67'54"
Having just written about the latest installments in the superb complete cycle of Josquin's Masses from the Tallis Scholars, it is icing on the cake to mention this new release. Jean Mouton (c. 1459-1522) is a lesser-known composer championed by the Suspicious Cheese Lords here in Washington, among other groups. This disc is centered on an imitation (or parordy) Mass by Mouton, based on the motet Dictes moy toutes voz pensées by Loyset Compère (c. 1445-1518), Mouton's senior by a decade. (The group used a new edition of the work by Timothy Symons, which through the wonders of the Internet you can examine online.) It is a long and rather ornate setting, lasting almost forty minutes, and it has some striking sounds, including a passage for two altos and bass at the "Crucifixus" text in the Credo. The Sanctus and Benedictus are often the most beautiful and striking movements in a Renaissance Ordinary setting, which is also true in this case -- with a lovely tricinium for TBB (Pleni sunt) and bicinium for AT (Benedictus). Sadly, the Sanctus is the movement most likely to be left out even in those few churches that still perform Latin polyphony at Mass -- after the Credo, which I have never heard sung as polyphony in the context of any Mass anywhere. The Agnus, however, is the most extravagantly beautiful, with the second invocation given to a trio of basses (a most unusual sound, highlighted by some fun photos of the three singers in the booklet) and the texture in the third bumped up to five voices, with the addition of an extra tenor -- making for a dark, deep, priestly conclusion. To round out a beautiful disc, the group has also recorded Compère's source motet, plus five motets by Mouton, beginning with the austere Quis dabit oculis nostris (ed. Symons), a funeral motet for Mouton's employer, Queen Anne of Brittany, and concluding with Nesciens mater (ed. Symons), an exercise in canon for two overlapping choirs that approaches the intricate complexity of Josquin.

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