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in Early Music, Renaissance and other periods

  • St Cecile Mass
    from Angel Classics.

  • Mass Op 20
    from Chandos.

  • Mass to St Anthony
    from Mode.

  • Bach: Arias
    from Sony.
    Bach's arias have seldom sounded more cogent than in the lushly beautiful voice of Angelika Kirschlager. She manages to sing thses various arias with all the informed discipline of a baroque specialist but her talent takes the music much further. Without stepping out of the period she infuses these...

  • Andrea Bocelli - Sacred Arias / Myung-Whun Chung
    from Polygram Records.
    I watched the PBS special sometime around the holdays which featured this album of Bocelli's. Hearing the wonderful acoustics in that glorius church took the somewhat well-known songs to an almost ethereal level. It was wonderful to hear other versions of Ave Maria that I haven't heard performed in...

  • Bach - Mass in B minor / Argenta, Nichols, Chance, Stafford, Milner, W. Evans, Gardiner
    from Polygram Records.
    This recording has everything going for it: sumptuous sound, singing, playing, recording. I feel as is my boombox is happy when it's spinning these two amazing discs. I've heard only a few other performances of Bach's great Mass in B Minor, and this is the one I'd recommend buying on CD. I'm not...

  • 1000 - A Mass for the End of Time / Anonymous 4
    from Harmonia Mundi Franc.
    I have always been highly suspicious of "spiritual people". Why them and not me? I was only looking for pretty music when I, a rock n roller by upbringing, purchased this CD. What followed during the listening of this CD, was a deeply meditative state as I let the music, so beautiful words cannot...

  • The Best of the Renaissance
    from Polygram Records.
    This CD contains, to my knowledge, the best recorded performance of the sublime Miserere by Gregorio Allegri. There is a famous story of Mozart going to the Sistine Chapel to hear the Allegri Miserere when he was fourteen years old. After having heard it, he asked to see the score and was denied...

  • Desprez-Palestrina Motets/Masses
    from Ent. Media Partners.

  • Haydn: Masses
    from Angel Classics.
    Neville Marriner has been criticised for his fast tempi but I think his conducting of these four Haydn masses is very good indeed. It has great energy and sense of purpose. The singing is also very good here. I especially like Robert Holl's solid and full basso in the Nelson Mass. You can pay a lot...

  • Schubert: Deutsche & Latin Masses
    from Vox (Classical).
    I have listened to the "Deutsche Messe" over and over again. I also had the rare opportunity to be at a mass in a church in Germany where an orchestra played Franz Schubert's "Deutsche Messe". Wow! What an experience! The music pieces have so much depths and devotion in them. You can close your eyes...

  • Mozart: Masses (5)
    from Polygram Records.
    Although the masses are performed a bit too alike, this cd offers very clean performances; I could detect no flaws and the smooth choir-orchestra relationship is expressed well in the flow of the music...overall, while it is not remarkable it is a very enjoyable collection.

  • Bruckner: Masses and Songs
    from Chandos.

  • Schubert:Masses D 105 & D 167
    from Sony.

  • Tom├ís Luis De Victoria/Alonso Lobo: Masses/Versa Est In Luctum
    from Naxos.
    Muy buena interpretacion de la misa O quam Gloriosum. El Ave Maria a 4 voces esta a un tempo un poco rapido a mi gusto, pero igualmente delicioso. Una muy buena compra.

  • Byrd Gradualia: The Marian Masses
    from Hyperion.

  • William Byrd: Masses For Four & Five Voices
    from Naxos.
    There are three types of groups that sing this almost unbelievably beautiful music: groups with all adult males; groups with all males that include children; and groups with adult males and adult females. This disc by the Oxford Camerata includes four women singing the soprano voices. Nothing...

  • Bruckner: Masses; Te Deum
    from Hyperion.

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The Mass as a genre of musical composition is a choral composition that sets the fixed portions of the Eucharistic liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church to music.

Masses can be a capella, for the human voice alone, or they can be accompanied by instrumental obbligatos up to and including a full orchestra. Generally, for a composition to be a full Mass, it must contain the following six sections, which together constitute the "ordinary" of the Mass:

I. Kyrie

The text here is simply: Kyrie eleison; Christe eleison; Kyrie eleison. This is Greek for "Lord have mercy on us; Christ, have mercy on us; Lord, have mercy on us."

II. Gloria

This is a celebratory passage praising God and Christ, which sets the following text:

Gloria in excelsis Deo et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis. Laudamus te, benedicimus te, adoramus te, glorificamus te, gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam, Domine Deus, Rex caelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will. We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we adore Thee, we glorify Thee, we give thanks to Thee for Thy great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God the Father.

Domine Fili unigenite, Iesu Christe, Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis; qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram. Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis.

Lord Jesus Christ, only begotten Son, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, Thou who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; Thou who takes away the sins of the world, hear our prayers. Thou who sittest at the right hand of the Father, have mercy upon us.

Quoniam tu solus Sanctus, tu solus Dominus, tu solus Altissimus, Iesu Christe, cum Sancto Spiritu in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.

For Thou art the only Holy One, the only Lord, the only Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in the glory of God the Father, Amen.

III. Credo

The longest text of the Mass, this is a setting in Latin of the Nicene Creed.

IV. Sanctus

This is a doxology praising the Trinity which begins with the words Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Domine Deus Sabaoth; pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua (Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts; Heaven and earth are full of thy glory). There is also a section that begins with the words Hosanna in excelsis, "Hosanna in the highest."

V. Benedictus

This is a setting of the Latin words Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. (Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord).

After this is sung, the Hosanna is usually repeated.

VI. Agnus Dei

A setting of the Latin phrases,

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,

miserere nobis /
dona nobis pacem.
(Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us / give us peace.)

In a liturgical Mass, there are other sections that may be sung, often in Gregorian chant. These sections change with the day and season according to the Church calendar, and are usually not set to music by a composer who wishes to write a Mass. They can, and have been made the subject of motets and other musical compositions, however.

These sections of the Mass as a musical composition have been standard since the Middle Ages; the very earliest Masses may include other parts, and omit some of the standard ones. The first Mass we know of whose composer can be identified was the Mass of Our Lady by Guillaume de Machaut. Many other composers wrote Masses, including Johann Sebastian Bach, who was not a Roman Catholic. Perhaps the greatest composer of church music ever was Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, whose Mass for Pope Marcellus is credited with saving polyphony from the censure of the Council of Trent.




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