Cappella Pratensis’s live concert offers a foretaste of our Josquin year in 2021 and focuses on Josquin’s – the master of polyphony – Missa Ave maris stella in this programme.
The concert of Cappella Pratensis was live at AMUZ (without audience) on Wednesday 26 August at 8 p.m.
Ave maris stella (hymne) – gregoriaans / Guillaume Du Fay (1397-1474) / Josquin des Prez (ca. 1450/5-1521) / Anonymous
Rorate celi (introitus) – gregoriaans
Missa Ave maris stella: Kyrie – Josquin des Prez
Missa Ave maris stella: Gloria – Josquin des Prez
Tollite portas (graduale) – gregoriaans
Ave Maria gratia plena (alleluia) – gregoriaans
Missa Ave maris stella: Credo – Josquin des Prez
Ave Maria gratia plena (offertorium) – gregoriaans
Mittit ad virginum (motet) – Josquin des Prez?
Per omnia secula seculorum (prefatio) – gregoriaans
Missa Ave maris stella: Sanctus – Josquin des Prez
Pater noster – gregoriaans
Missa Ave maris stella: Agnus Dei – Josquin des Prez
Ecce virgo concipiet (communio) – gregoriaans
Missus est Gabriel angelus (motet) – Josquin des Prez
Stratton Bull, artistic direction & superius
Andrew Hallock, superius
Korneel Van Neste, altus
Lior Leibovici, altus
Pieter De Moor, tenor
Peter de Laurentiis, tenor
Marc Busnel, bassus
Maté Bruckner, bassus
Cappella Pratensis’s live concert offers a foretaste of our Josquin year in 2021. The latter ensemble, named after the master of polyphony – since Pratensis is Latin for des Prez – focuses on Josquin’s Missa Ave maris stella in this programme. There was a strong tradition of devotion to the Virgin Mary in the Vatican. The Sistine Chapel was consecrated in honour of the Virgin on 15 August 1483. Six years later, Josquin would be appointed to the papal music chapel as a singer.
Cappella Pratensis situates Josquin’s composition in a ceremonial context of the liturgy that honours the story of the Annunciation, specifically the mass for the Holy Virgin held during Advent. The parts of the mass are alternated with Gregorian chants and Marian motets by Josquin. The hymn Ave maris stella, which was sung at many services for the Virgin Mary, serves as the motto for this concert. According to the principle of alternation, monophonic verses are alternated with polyphonic ones. Guillaume Du Fay, who was a member of the Papal Chapel around the year 1430, composed several polyphonic verses that Josquin added to in the 1490s. Josquin weaves the melody of the hymn through his Missa Ave maris stella; the musical motif used in the hymn for the words “Ave maris stella” can be heard in several places, sometimes prominently and literally, but sometimes also in the background as part of a complex counterpoint texture.
The monophonic Ave Maria was often followed by a motet in the Sistine Chapel. In this concert, Mittit ad virginem has been chosen: a polyphonic setting of the Annunciation sequence. It is not entirely clear whether Josquin composed it, and some question the attribution. Stylistically, however, the motet is similar to other works by Josquin.
The ceremony ends with the Gregorian communion Ecce virgo and the motet Missus est that Josquin probably composed during his stay in Rome. The motet is not based on a specific Gregorian chant, but references to the Ave maris stella hymn can be heard in the opening section, and the melody of the Gregorian antiphon “Ave Maria gratia plena” is integrated into all the voices when these words are sung.
The vocal ensemble Cappella Pratensis specialises in the performance of 15th and 16th century polyphony. As was customary at the time, the singers perform the music standing around a shared music stand, singing from large choir books in mensural notation. Cappella Pratensis passes on the insights it has gained into the performance of vocal polyphony from the original notation to professionals and amateurs by means of courses, presentations and masterclasses.
Countertenor Stratton Bull studied singing at the conservatory in his birthplace, Toronto, in The Hague with the tenor Marius Van Altena and in Amsterdam with the baritone Max van Egmond. He has performed with leading ensembles such as Tafelmusik Toronto, Hesperion XXI, Cantus Cölln and Capilla Flamenca, and with conductors including Andrew Parrott, Sigiswald Kuijken and Bernard Labadie. He has a particular interest in the performance of Renaissance music from the source and the interpretation of early music notation. He can indulge this passion to his heart’s content with the ensembles Cappella Pratensis and Thamyris, in which he is both a singer and the conductor. Stratton Bull is also a project worker at Alamire Foundation and teaches Renaissance music classes.