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Noon Edition

Striggio Mass In 40 Parts

The Cathedral at night

In 2011,  Decca released a recording and accompanying DVD made by I Fagiolini, led by Robert Hollingworth. It includes music of one to 40 parts, most of it composed by Alessandro Striggio.

Sixteenth-century Florence had an established tradition of large-scale musical settings, which is not completely surprising for the city-state run by the wealthy Medici family.  It is, however, extraordinary that by 1566, Alessandro Striggio had composed both a motet and a mass in forty parts.

His mass calls for eight choirs of five parts, bringing to mind Thomas Tallis’ later 40-part composition, Spem in alium, which is also included on this recording.  Tallis was apparently familiar with Striggio’s work from a trip that Striggio made to England in 1567 and was in fact trying to outdo him.

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