The graphics for this Tallis Scholars release mention scholarly disagreement over the Missa Mater Patris, long attributed to Josquin but "recently shown to be by the little-known Noel Bauldeweyn," writes director Peter Phillips. "Or is it?" he adds. He sketches out the controversy, pointing out that the mass does not resemble any of Josquin's other compositions in the genre; he doesn't answer his question. However, you might take the album as a rejoinder to those questioning the authenticity of the mass. Its possible removal from the Josquin canon rests entirely on this musical evidence, so Phillips is entitled to adduce musical evidence of his own: the genuine Bauldeweyn mass included here sounds nothing like Josquin but is basically a work in 15th century style with a bit of imitative counterpoint thrown in. The Missa Mater Patris is a spectacular work, whoever wrote it. It does include long homophonic passages that were uncharacteristic of Josquin's time and the rest of his output (although apparently not very characteristic of Bauldeweyn, either). Thus, Josquin inflects his borrowed material, a motet by Brumel, in the directions of both simplicity and, at the end, the usual complexity. Without taking an explicit position, Phillips admits that some parts of the Bauldeweyn Missa da Pacem are pretty dull, and he speculates that the parts that aren't might have been written by Josquin. The Missa Mater Patris is at its most Josquin-typical in the Incarnatus and Crucifixus, which introduce a new tonal realm in a way that probably no other Renaissance composer was capable of. Whatever your ideas when it comes to the do-it-yourself musicology, the reading by the always strong Tallis Scholars is especially sensitive here, and Gimell's sound from the Chapel at Merton College is superb. Highly recommended, both simply for its pleasures and as a way to introduce the kinds of issues scholars of Renaissance music think about.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Mater Patris et filia|
|Missa Mater Patris|
|Missa Da pacem|