Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Missa Ad coenam Agni providi

Palestrina’s setting of the Mass, Missa Ad coenam Agni providi takes its name from the first line of the Ambrosian hymn of the same name, and means ‘Looking forward to the Lamb’s banquet‘. Its publication date of 1554 by the Dorico printing firm makes it one of the first of Palestrina’s Masses to be published. It’s a complex piece of music with some sections being scored for five parts rather than four. Palestrina took full advantage of the compositional freedom that the ability to add and drop the fifth voice at will gave him and although in places the Mass is quite old-fashioned it’s also very assured with beautiful flowing vocal lines and richly figured and expressive harmonies. These qualities place it alongside his better-known works, in fact I’ve never understood why such a beautiful and expressive piece of music has been so neglected. Enjoy :-).


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