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Discography: (UK) Tallis Scholars-Peter Phillips CD Release: "

Contributed by admin on Nov 27, 2016 - 02:19 PM

"Featuring two fascinating masses by Josquin, the Missa Di dadi and the Missa Une mousse de Biscaye, the latest The Tallis Scholars album has now been released on Gimell Records."

"Can great music be inspired by the throw of dice? The possibility clearly excited Josquin, who prefaced the tenor part in several of the movements of his Missa Di dadi with a pair of dice, each pair giving a different total score. And the scores show that he knew how gambling worked - they stop when one of the players has thrown a winning combination. Did he know this because he was living in a place where gambling was so commonplace it was even thought appropriate to refer to it in a Mass-setting? He may have been. Milan under the Sforzas in the late fifteenth century was well known to have been a hot-house of gambling, with the ducal family taking a leading role. Since there is good evidence that Josquin worked there throughout the 1480s, it seems very possible that he joined in with the fashion, at court and in private.  ....

This would certainly explain the (not entirely necessary) presence of the dice in the notational scheme of this Mass, as a friendly nod to his singers, and to please the duke. Did he even throw dice to establish his composition plan? At first sight these dice are nothing more than indicators to the tenors as to how to distribute the notes of the chanson, on which the Mass is based, into their part-Josquin having chosen as his cantus firmus the tenor part of Robert Morton's chanson N'aray je jamais mieulx. For example the Kyrie is preceded by a pair of dice showing two and one, which tells the singers that the note-lengths of the chanson need to be doubled in order to fit with the other three voice-parts. In the Gloria the dice read ..."

Visit the Gimel website [2] for read the full article and CD purchase availability.

Visit the The Tallis Scholars site [3] for information of the group.

 

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