Josquin: Missa Di dadi

Josquin: Missa Di dadi
The Tallis Scholars - Peter Phillips
Gimell 048

Although this disc also contains the Missa Une mousse de Biscaye, that is not a worthwhile cycle, and so the listing is really only for the Missa Di dadi. (Surely the former would not have even been performed again if it weren't attributed to Josquin.)

Whether the Missa Di dadi is an example of Josquin pursuing something other than the mature style for which he is mainly known, i.e. clear modal harmonies & nascent word painting, or is actually by a different composer, it is quite masterfully done. This is an apex of motivic, rhythmic syncopation leading into grand climaxes — the latter, at least, typical of Josquin. I also enjoy this "dice mass" notion, and thoughts on chance, etc. The basic motifs had to be short enough to make various combinations possible, but this in turn leads to richly rhythmic counterpoint.

Once again, the Tallis Scholars have produced an outstanding interpretation of Josquin, in such contrast to their early readings: This is forceful, accurate, clearly articulated.... The music can be heard & followed very clearly. (Who knows how many recording sessions were involved, since as has been the custom, Phillips does not give recording dates. It's a secret, I guess.)

Although I'm feeling enthusiastic, perhaps less so because one must program so many individual tracks to hear only the first mass, I should note that there is still an issue of contextualizing this piece. (I might be inclined to link it to Caron somehow....)

That said, hearing this piece a few times now, it does sound like Josquin to me. The influences may be as above, but it sounds correct, as far as attribution. The basic forms of the movements are actually quite typical, one might say, stripped to their essential qualities.

To renaissance sacred list

Todd M. McComb
Updated: 30 November 2016