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Brumel’s Missa “Et ecce terrae motus”

An early sixteenth century mass in twelve parts - very unusual!

Lucrezia Borgia

Photo: Wikipedia

Detail from the portrait of Lucrezia Borgia by Bartolomeo Veneto (late sixteenth century).

Lucrezia Borgia has a rather dreadful reputation that is largely undeserved.  She was one of the greatest patronesses of the arts of all times. She and her husband, Duke Alfonso d’Este, were responsible for bringing some of the famous composers of their day – Josquin des Prez, Jacob Obrecht and Antoine Brumel – to the court in Ferrara.

Duke Alfonso was known to his own men as “il terremoto” – the earthquake, and it is probably while Brumel was in his employ from 1506-1510 that he composed his Missa “Et ecce terrae motus.” The mass is unusual in several ways, the most striking of which is that fact that it is in twelve parts instead of the usual four parts that was the norm on the continental mainland at this time.

In 2011 Newton Classics re-released the Huelgas Ensemble’s recording of Brumel’s Mass and setting of the sequence “Dies irae.”

T. 4: Gloria (excerpt)
Huelgas Ensemble — Brumel: Missa 'Et ecce terrae motus' - Dies irae (Newton Classics, 2011)
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album cover

T. 4: Gloria (excerpt)
Huelgas Ensemble — Brumel: Missa 'Et ecce terrae motus' - Dies irae (Newton Classics, 2011)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Wendy Gillespie

Wendy Gillespie is Professor of Music, teaching early bowed strings and performance studies, at the Early Music Institute of the Jacobs School of Music, Bloomington, IN and President of the VdGSA. As a viola da gamba player, she has made more than 80 CDs and performed on five continents.

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  • Kittybriton KB

    I’m tempted to make some flip comment about “the earth moving”, but really, it’s nice to know that the Huelgas Ensemble recording was retained to be re-released.

  • Luís Henriques

    Great

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