Notes and Editorial Reviews
LONG JOY, BRIEF LANGUOR
Calvin M. Bower, dir; Schola Antiqua of Chicago
DISCANTUS 1001 (56:56)
This disc is an important addition to the discography of early English polyphonic masses. In
The Rise of European Music, 1380–1500
(19:2), Reinhard Strohm finds the earliest polyphonic masses originating in England around 1420–30. On page 230, he lists five anonymous masses contemporary with Dunstable and Power.
Missa Salve sancta parens
recorded by Denis Stevens on Dover HCR 5263 in September 1964.
Missa Fuit homo missus a Deo
was recorded by Alejandro Planchart on Lyrichord LLST 7234 in May 1971.
Missa Veterem hominem
was recorded by Christopher Page on Hyperion 66919 in July 1996.
has been recorded under Dufay’s name several times, but since being relegated to anonymity, it has been recorded only by Page on Hyperion 66857 in July 1996. Margaret Bent edited the four less familiar works as a group in 1979.
Falling in the middle of this group is
Missa Quem malignus spiritus
, now recorded for the first time. Like the first two masses (and those of Dunstable and Power), it is set for three voices. The cantus firmus is taken from the first responsory of the rhymed Office of St. John of Bridlington (IO61 in Andrew Hughes’s classification), a local figure who died in 1379 and was canonized in 1401. The chant is heard first on the program. The title of the disc refers to a rebus placed at the head of each movement of the Mass in which the word “joy” is followed by a longa and the word “languor” is followed by a breve: joy is long, languor is short. The Mass movements are separated by an Alleluia verse and a sequence after the Gloria, with a communio and a Marian antiphon at the end.
The disc marks the swan song of Calvin Bower directing the schola that he founded in 2000, coinciding with his retirement as professor of music at Notre Dame. Earlier, he furnished a CD that came with Theodore Karp’s book on post-Tridentine chant (30:1). His chant tends to slow tempos, but it matches the pace of the Mass. The texts and part of the annotation are available only on the group’s Web site. For specialists in early English polyphony, this is essential.
FANFARE: J. F. Weber
Works on This Recording
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