The Birth of Polyphony

Revisiting the earliest surviving Mass cycle

Written by (an) unknown composer(s) around 1330, Messe de Tournai is the earliest complete Mass setting. There is, however, strong evidence to suggest that the setting is an amalgam of movements from various sources collected together to form a single liturgical unit. The Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei are similar in their use of homophony, word setting and musical material; the Gloria shows a somewhat more developed style of sweeping melismatic polyphony; the Credo shares little harmonic information with the other movements; and the Ite missa est combines Latin and French secular texts around the processional chant. Motets by Guillaume Dufay and Jacobus Obrecht contrast with the mesmeric nature of the Mass to recreate the lost sounds of 14th/15th century Northern Europe.

Includes: Messe de Tournai, together with works by Dufay and Obrecht.