The Anonymous 8-Voice Missa Miserere mihi in the Alamire Manuscripts: Contextual and Stylistic Considerations

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The Missa Miserere mihi is an anonymous mass composed for eight voice parts preserved in Munich 6, one in the series of the famous codices from the Alamire Workshops of Mechelen and Brussels. Ittakes pride of place in a manuscript intended for the Munich court chapel of Duke Wilhelm IV, Duke of Bavaria dating from the early 1520s. The opening folios of the Kyrie eleison include the coat of arms of the Bavarian dukes. Other masses in this manuscript choirbook are by Antonius Divitis, Noel Bauldeweyn, Jheronimus Vinders and Nicholas Champion. The mass is made up of differing types of textures, with the sonority sometimes expanding up to thirteen voice parts at cadence points. The contrapuntal fabricis both imitiative and non-imitative, and also includes homophonic passages to accompany important phrases in the mass text. The circumstances of the composition of this mass are not yet certain. However, it is interesting to note that the Munich chapel had a taste for such large-scale works: among the choirbooks is a copy of Brumel’s famous ‘Earthquake mass’, the twelve-voice Missa et ecce terra mortus, which in many ways may be regarded as a predecessor of the Miserere Mihi mass. Brumel’s mass was still used at the Munich court during the time of the chapelmastership of Orlando Lassus during the second half of the sixteenth century.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2014
EventSpode Music Week - Abberley Hall, Worcs, United Kingdom
Duration: 13 Aug 2014 → …


ConferenceSpode Music Week
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period13/08/14 → …
Internet address


  • Música antiga
  • Polifonia
  • Alamire


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