Information booklet about the recording of Cantores Sancti Gregorii. This programme is built around the reconstruction of the early 16th century liturgical practice in the Heilige Stede Kapel in Amsterdam, namely, the votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament celebrated weekly together with the procession with the Miraculous Host. The central piece of this concert is the famous Occo Codex, luxurious choirbook made for Heilige Stede Kapel by the workshop of Petrus Alamire, from which we chose Josquin's Missa Pange lingua and several motets connected to the devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. Plainchant and other liturgical elements also come from graduals and missals of local provenance.
Corpus Christi as well as the anniversary of the miracle itself must have had an important role and been celebrated with great festivity. (For special occasions there are mentions of the use of trumpets, shawns and drums in processions) There has been also a weekly procession in which the Miraculous Host was brought every Wednesday to the Ou<strong>de</strong> Kerk and back. It is also quite likely, that as in many other churches in this time, a weekly (if not daily) votive mass of the Blessed Sacrament was offered here. T he only official connection of Pompeius Occo to the chapel of the Heilige Ste<strong>de</strong> seems to be his tenure as churchwar<strong>de</strong>n from 1513 to 1518 after which he pursued supposedly politically more important positions in the Holy Cross Guild and the Nieuwe Kerk. Occo was an agent of the Fugger firm in Amsterdam, a very distinctive figure of the merchant elite, a man of learning and <strong>de</strong>votion as well as a patron of arts. He lived in the Kalverstraat, very close to the Heilige Ste<strong>de</strong>, and it has been conjectured that he retained a special relationship to this institution. In<strong>de</strong>ed, a poem composed by Alaard of Amsterdam mourning the <strong>de</strong>ath of Occo singles out his attachment to this chapel and his many material donations and offerings. O ne of these is also the Occo Co<strong>de</strong>x, a large luxurious music manuscript from the workshop of Petrus Alamire. There is a very clear liturgical focus on the veneration of the Blessed Sacrament, to which the first section of the book is <strong>de</strong>dicated. We find here 5 settings of O salutaris hostia, Tantum ergo, a polyphonic introit for Corpus Christi, Cibavit eos, as well as two masses whose melodic material is taken from chants connected with Corpus Christi: Hotinet Barra’s <strong>Missa</strong> Ecce panis angelorum and Josquin <strong>de</strong> Pres’ <strong>Missa</strong> Pange lingua. The second part of the manuscript consists of five more mass settings and one Requiem.
Our programme is based on the votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament (i.e. <strong>Missa</strong> <strong>de</strong> Venerabili <strong>Sacramento</strong>) according to the <strong>Missa</strong>le for the use of Utrecht printed in 1511 in Anwerpen. One of the features differentiating it from the standard Roman use is that the sequence Lauda Sion of Corpus Christi, which would normally be used only for the feast itself and not in a votive Mass, does appear here in a shortened form of last four stanzas. Plainchant tones for the ordinary parts of the Mass (such as Preface, Pater noster, Ite missa est etc.) are also taken from this source. Polyphonic responses (Amen, Et cum spiritu tuo etc.) which seem to have been a common feature of the liturgical and musical practice in the 16th century come from Co<strong>de</strong>x Smijers, choirbook of plainchant and polyphony used by the Brotherhood of Our Illustrious Blessed Lady in ʹs‐Hertogenbosch. P lainchant propers (Graduale, Alleluia, Offertorium and Communio) are taken from an early 16th century Graduale, currently kept in Museum Catharijneconvent which most probably originated in the Agnesklooster, Fransiscan friary in Hoorn. It preserves a notational and melodic variant of Gregorian chant characteristic for the northern Low Countries. T he setting of Cibavit eos which opens the programme is the only one of the motets in the Occo Co<strong>de</strong>x connected with eucharistic <strong>de</strong>votions with a fixed liturgical function, sc. the introit of Corpus Christi. Consistent with the form of plainchant introit, it is written in two sections, the antiphon and the psalm verse. While in the verse, the cantus firmus is mostly to be found in tenor, the more contrapuntal setting of the antiphon paraphrases the chant in different, usually at least two, voices. The melodic form of the plainchant employed points to an origin in Germany or the Low Countries (East Frankish chant dialect). J osquin’s <strong>Missa</strong> Pange lingua is one of his last Mass settings and one of four Masses he wrote that are based on plainchant mo<strong>de</strong>ls, which in this case is a hymn for Corpus Christi by Thomas Aquinas. The Mass is transmitted in some 26 sources known to us