Leonard Bernstein’s Mass : Newer Recordings

The sources for the history and overview of Mass include Anthony Tommasini's 2018 New York Times piece, "Is ‘Mass’ Leonard Bernstein’s Best Work, or His Worst?", the work description on the Leonard Bernstein Office website and Wikipedia. The controversy over Leonard Bernstein’s Mass began with its premiere in 1971. In his review for The New … Continue reading Leonard Bernstein’s Mass : Newer Recordings

Dufay’s Missa de Sancti Anthonii de Padua

St Anthony of Padua held a very particular significance in the devotions of Guillaume Dufay. The single holy relic in his possession was a piece of the Saint’s belt, or girdle, listed among the ‘jewels’ in the account of the executors of his will. But the main expression of his veneration was undoubtedly the Mass … Continue reading Dufay’s Missa de Sancti Anthonii de Padua

Palestrina : Missa Ad coenam Agni

Stephen Rice's Brabant Ensemble is a choir that closely resembles, at least in size, the kind of vocal group Palestrina would have been familiar with.  Generally utilizing three singers to a part Palestrina's polyphony is put across clearly and strongly.   The documentary evidence indicates that this mass falls early in Palestrina's career, but it is not a … Continue reading Palestrina : Missa Ad coenam Agni

Taking Liberties : Björn Schmelzer & Machaut’s “Messe de Nostre Dame”

The La Messe de Nostre Dame by Guillaume de Machaut has been called the most important polyphonic composition of the 14th century.  There are at least 35 recordings dating back to 1951, although most of those pre-1980 are hard to find and if found only available on vinyl. There appears to be general agreement now … Continue reading Taking Liberties : Björn Schmelzer & Machaut’s “Messe de Nostre Dame”

Jacob Obrecht : Netherlands Renaissance composer born #OnThisDay

Jacob Obrecht (1457-1505)) was a South Netherlandish composer known mainly for his substantial output of Mass Ordinary settings in the late 15th century, as well as for his motets and songs. Like his close contemporary Josquin des Prez, Obrecht was born and trained in the North, and led a peripatetic career involving positions and patrons … Continue reading Jacob Obrecht : Netherlands Renaissance composer born #OnThisDay

Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame : an overview

Guillaume de Machaut is the most important poet and composer of the 14th century, with a lasting history of influence. His unique oeuvre, contained, thanks to the composer’s own efforts, in manuscripts that include only his works, stands in many respects for itself: in terms of its volume, its poetic and compositional formulation and quality, … Continue reading Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame : an overview