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Mancini, Donato : Missa Praeter Rerum Seriem : Composition Description

in : All Music Guide (

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1 : Missa ‘Praeter rerum seriem', 7vv (Mis) - [1, 4 Refs.]
- : : Missa Praeter Rerum Seriem : 'In his masses, Cipriano de Rore makes an overt attempt to place himself in the illustrious line of composers of the Franco-Flemish tradition. As such, his Missa Praeter Rerum Seriem is both an homage and challenge to Josquin Desprez, who was Rore's greatest predecessor in this line, and his greatest predecessor as maestro di cappella at the Este court in Ferrara. This monumental work for seven voices is a parody mass on a motet by Josquin, and uses also a cantus firmus on a text that honors Ercole II d'Este. The mass was immediately recognized in its day for what it was: a work of major importance and of stupefying beauty. Although not published in Rore's lifetime, the Missa Praeter was well known enough that Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria requested a copy of it by name. Rore wrote few masses, due to the circumstances of his employment, and he clearly made a special effort to put every rhetorical device and compositional trick he knew into the Missa Praeter, using the opportunity to thoroughly demonstrate his mastery of Franco-Flemish polyphonic traditions. In places, it has a song-like candor of line drawn from the influence of Josquin, but has also a highly developed harmonic sense that perhaps stems from Willaert. The Sanctus is the most stripped-down of the movements. Here Rore's particular ease with long phrases can be best appreciated, in lines that are both clearly designed and of inspired fluidity. His line here isn't one that maps out a reading of a particular word or emotion, but one that sets out on an adventurous course through shades of conflicting emotions and hovers with discreet musical tensions. Rore's mass is so richly nuanced that the particularity of a feeling is never stable. In the fuller movements, when more voices are present, the music is monumental, something listeners meekly experience almost cowering from the inside. The vocal densities are constantly changing, while the climatic and hot points in the lines and those occurring in the harmonies are often misaligned to beautifully disorient the senses. Rore here works with a psychological and technical complexity that only a master rhetorician such as he can handle without the music becoming unruly'

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