The Second Sunday of Advent, Solemn Mass, by the Reverend James Ross Smith

At the Solemn Mass on Friday night on the feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the choir sang a Mass setting by Francisco de Peñalosa. Peñalosa died in 1528, so I think music historians would place him somewhere in the middle years of the Renaissance, but two of our choristers, who know about such things, tell me that Friday’s Mass reminded them of music from the early years of the Renaissance. I know too little about such things to venture an opinion about all that, but I will say that there were things in Friday’s Mass that seemed distinctive to me and very powerful. That was especially true of the song of praise, the Gloria in excelsis.
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