A common practice among Renaissance composers of sacred music involved using familiar melodies as a cantus firmus or fixed melody in the tenor part, typically drawn out in long note values. This was a consistent feature of the masses of Josquin, of which the Missa Gaudeamus employs the opening six notes of a Gregorian chant, Gaudeamus omnes in Domino, and the Missa L'ami Baudichon, which was based on the first three notes of a vulgar song. Such a mingling of the sacred and profane may strike modern listeners as jarring, though this practice was widely accepted in the 15th century, and the inventiveness of Josquin's flowing melodies and the subtlety of his counterpoint make these musical references little more than grist for his genius. The Tallis Scholars, under the direction of Peter Phillips, have been documenting Josquin's masses for the Gimell label since 1986, and this group's distinctive, pure sound and impeccable execution have set these recordings in a class by themselves. The recording in the Chapel of Merton College, Oxford is clear and focused, with enough acoustic resonance to enrich the voices but without blurring Josquin's perfectly articulated lines.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Missa L'ami Baudichon|