Jablonski, Marek (Michael)

(i) Individual mass sections

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(i) Individual mass sections.

As well as full-scale masses, Josquin, like other composers of the time, seems to have composed a number of isolated mass sections, perhaps for more modest occasions or establishments. Several are to be found in Petrucci’s Fragmenta missarum (1505). Some of these, however, are found with conflicting attributions in manuscript sources, and it may be noted that only two are ascribed to Josquin in the body of Petrucci’s text (superius volume); the remainder are given to him only in the index which precedes each partbook. Of those which may, on stylistic grounds, be reasonably accepted as Josquin’s, the Gloria de Beata Virgine (based on Gloria IX, including the tropes that were soon to be abolished by the Tridentine reforms) shows vigour and imagination in its range of rhythmic contrast and bold use of sequence, though the frequent use of incomplete triads points to an early date. The Credo ‘De tous biens’ is also independently attributed to Josquin in an early Sistine Chapel manuscript (I-Rvat C.S.41), and although its dissonance treatment and its excessively bald use of the tenor of Hayne’s chanson seem uncharacteristic of the mature Josquin, a case can be made for its representing the deliberate confrontation of a specific compositional challenge, namely the combination of a plainchant melody with a secular one (cf Victimae paschali/D’ung aultre amer). Of the remaining Credos attributed to Josquin in Petrucci’s Fragmenta missarum, and accepted in the modern complete editions of his works, the most questionable (on stylistic grounds) are Chascun me crie (De rouges nes) and La belle se siet; the former in particular seems to refer to a secular style fashionable in the 1490s, by which time Josquin was surely too sophisticated to have composed so clumsy a piece, and the latter is probably by Robert de Févin (to whom it is ascribed in Rvat C.S.41). The two Credos labelled ‘Vilayge’ (for the meaning of this term see Van den Borren, 1962), as well as the untitled Credo, though all quite different from one another, could certainly be early works by Josquin.

The Sanctus de Passione incorporates (as has been noted in §11(i)) the chordal ‘Honor et benedictio’ section that also forms part of the motet Qui velatus facie fuisti; no plainsong reference has yet been identified in the Sanctus itself, but further research might clarify liturgical connections between it and the motet. The Sanctus ‘D’ung aultre amer’ is also accompanied by a short homophonic motet, Tu lumen, tu splendor Patris, in this case placed after the second ‘Osanna’. The text of this motet is the second verse of the Christmas hymn Christe redemptor omnium, but since the setting makes no reference to the hymn melody it is likely that no close liturgical connection with Christmas is implied; Sanctus and Benedictus themselves each combine the superius of Ockeghem’s chanson with a version of the plainsong for ferial days in Advent and Lent, which suggests that this may be a setting for use in penitential seasons of the Church’s year. The combination of D’ung aultre amer (principally the chanson’s tenor this time) and the Lenten plainsong is also found in the Sanctus and Agnus Dei of Josquin’s Missa ‘D’ung aultre amer’; this work, in common with some by Gaffurius explicitly labelled ‘missae breves’, is built on an exceptionally small scale with rapid parlando declamation in the Gloria and Credo; it too may have been designed for ferial use in penitential seasons. Like the above-mentioned Sanctus settings, it contains an Elevation motet (the first half of Tu solus qui facis mirabilia), this time not merely attached to the Benedictus but replacing it altogether. The mass is compositionally more sophisticated and presumably later in date than the separate Sanctus settings, though because of its exceptional character it is particularly difficult to place in relation to Josquin’s other complete settings of the Ordinary. It should be noted that none of the individual mass-sections found in the Fragmenta was republished until modern times. They represent a type of composition for the Ordinary of the Mass that was already out of date by the time Petrucci printed them, and it is not surprising if they show stylistic traits that belong to Josquin’s earliest years.

Josquin des Prez, §12: Masses

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