🎻♫♪ – Missa Pange Lingua by Josquin des Prez

List Item: Listen to half of the 1001 Classical Works You Must Hear Before You Die
 17/501Title: Missa Pange Lingua
Composer: Josquin des Prez
Nationality: Franco-Flemish

After something so modern as Different Trains it is a bit weird to be back in the world of religious music. The piece that I listened to today is a 29 minute treatment of the Pange Lingua Gloriosi hymn written by philosopher and saint Thomas Aquinas.

It is a classical piece with five sections that correspond the the ordinary part of a Catholic Mass; starting with the Kyrie and ending with the Agnus Dei. Having taught in a Catholic school and being required to supervise the students during some of the rituals, I have picked up a thing or two. Osmosis is an interesting thing.

When I compare this to some of the earlier music from the list I think I am beginning to see some sort of development in the vocals. In places it feels more complex and harmonious, almost mellifluous.

I still can’t tell exactly when this piece moved between sections. When I think about some of the more obvious contrasts that we now see in music (as well as those in the Kreutzer sonata) it takes a lot to find the right amount of pause in the piece to signify that we are moving between parts.

In the end, this was rather soothing and one of the better vocal pieces that I have heard so far for the 1001 list. I know there are a lot more of these still to come before the world of classical music starts to properly include instruments in these large scale pieces. I still find myself missing the presence of a piano, violin or clarinet. However, this is an educational process and I feel that I am getting one.


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