Missa de Venerabile Sacramento

Praecentor

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.

Our programme is based on the votive Mass of the Blessed

Sacrament (i.e. Missa de Venerabili Sacramento) according

to the Missale 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 Codex 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 Codex connected with

eucharistic devotions 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 Missa Pange lingua is one of his last Mass settings and

one of four Masses he wrote that are based on plainchant

models, which in this case is a hymn for Corpus Christi by Thomas

Aquinas. The Mass is transmitted in some 26 sources known to us

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