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Missa Mijn herte altijt heeft verlanghen
Mathieu Gascongne


Transcription by Marnix van Berchum

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XML score data: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus dei

Sources listed in database

Source Loc. Title Voices Attribution
Missa. quattuor vocum. - myn herte heeft altyt verlanghen
"Johannes Gascong."
Missa Myn hert Altyt heeft verlanghen.
"Mathias gascongne."


MunBS 7
Missa Mijn herte altijt heeft verlanghen incipit: MunBS 7
Missa Mijn herte altijt heeft verlanghen incipit: MunBS F
UppsU 76c
Missa Mijn herte altijt heeft verlanghen incipit: UppsU 76c

Editor's Commentary

This mass uses the four-voice version of the popular Dutch song Mijn hert altijt heeft verlanghen by Pierre de la Rue as its model.1 Judging by its transmission - seven sources dated roughly between 1509 and 1542 - this is the most popular mass based on a Dutch song.2

At least one of the eleven known sources for the song can with certainty be dated before the earliest known source of Gascongne's mass: Petrucci's Canti C of 1503-4.3 Another early source of this song, the so called Basevi Codex, also contains a three-part version of the song with the French incipit Celle que j'ay long temps ayme of Cornelis de Rigo. These two early sources have a similar format (oblong choirbook format) and have a reasonable number of compositions in common. Both are the only sources of the song (otherwise transmitted predominantly in northern sources) respectively produced in Italy and commissioned by an Italian family. Furthermore they are the only two sources with the attribution of the song to Pierre de La Rue. The Basevi Codex was copied by the Netherlandish court scribe B, which links this source to the later court scriptorium of Alamire, which produced not only a later manuscript containing the song (BrusBR 228) but also the four earliest sources of the mass. Table 1 gives an overview of the early sources of both the song and the mass.

Table 1: Early sources of song and mass

Date (approx.) Song Mass
1504 1504/3
1506-14 FlorC 2439 *
1509-25 MunBS F *
1511 TourBV 94 / BrusBR IV.90 / BrusBR IV.1274
1512-25 JenaU 2 *
1512-30 MunBS 7 *
1515-20 BrusBR IV.922 *
1516-23 BrusBR 228 *

* = Source from Habsburg-Burgundian court scriptorium4

In general, in their presentations of the pre-existing material, the movements follow the order of the themes as presented in the song. The song has an overall ABA' form, resulting in a structure of themes: [1, 2, 3][4, 5][1, 2, 3] (see Example 1).5 The presentations of the themes are most of the time stretched over several measures, often presented in voice pairs. This procedure can best be seen in the openings of the Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus. In comparison, the opening of the Credo follows the opening of the model more closely, taking over the full first five measures of the song, only switching the position of the Superius and Tenor. These passages, in which the vertical structure of the model is also retained, recur several times in the mass. Moreover, it is particularly the beginnings of the different themes that are used as motivic material in the mass setting. Especially the character of Themes 1 and 3 makes their presence throughout the mass very noticeable; see, e.g., Kyrie mm. 65-75 (Theme 1) and Credo mm. 21-29 (Theme 3).

Example 1: Song themes re-used in Gascongne's mass (measure numbers from La Rue, Mijn hert altijt heeft verlanghen)
Example 1


Two of the early sources for the mass (JenaU 2 and MunBS 7) are closely related: in their transmission of the mass the page layout is similar, and the musical notation shares specific similarities of clefs, note shapes, and ligatures.6 The text scribe, moreover, may well have been the same, JenaU 2 using a bastarde script and MunBS 7 a courant script.7 Both, finally, have the same faulty attribution: 'Johannes' instead of 'Mathieu' Gascongne. More generally, JenaU2 and MunBS 7 were both produced roughly between 1512 and 1530 by the court scriptorium, have approximately the same dimensions (600x415 mm and 560x390 mm respectively), and were both produced for German courts (respectively those of Frederick the Wise of Saxony and William IV of Bavaria).

Of the later sources for the mass, no such similar connections to each other or to the earlier sources can be made.8 CambraiM 4 was copied around 1526-30 at the cathedral of Cambrai, and contains two other masses of Gascongne. UppsU 76c was copied around 1530 in France. These two sources share a substantial variant in the last measure of the Contratenor of the Kyrie: both lack the decorative extension of the final note of this voice (mm. 83-4). The partbooks CambraiM 125-8, dated 1542, belonged to the Flemish merchant Zeghere van Male, and are the only source which transmits both the song of La Rue and the mass, as well as another version of the song for four voices.9

Pre-existent material: Pierre de La Rue, Mijn hert altijt heeft verlanghen (polyphonic song)

Editorially supplied material: Plainchant intonations of Gloria and Credo supplied from Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, MS lat. 14452, f. 243r-v (Gradual of St. Victor of Paris, 13th century, with additions dated 1567)

[1] For a comprehensive overview of the sources for this song and compositions based upon it, see Bruno Bouckaert and Eugeen Schreurs, 'The Dutch song Mijn hert altijt heeft verlanghen as a model', in Bruno Bouckaert and Eugeen Schreurs (eds.), The Burgundian-Habsburg Court complex of music manuscripts (1500-1535) and the workshop of Petrus Alamire (Leuven: Alamire, 2003), pp. 259-284.
[2] René Bernhard Lenaerts, 'Polyfonische missen op Nederlandsche Liederen', in Organicae Voces: Festschrift Joseph Smits van Waesberghe (Amsterdam: Instituut voor Middeleeuwse Muziekwetenschap, 1963), pp. 101-105.
[3] Cf. Bouckaert and Schreurs, 'The Dutch song', Table 6, p. 275, and Jan Willem Bonda, De meerstemmige Nederlandse liederen van de vijftiende en zestiende eeuw (Hilversum: Verloren, 1996), pp. 577-578.
[4] For descriptions of these sources, see their respective entries in Herbert Kellman (ed.), The Treasury of Petrus Alamire: Music and Art in Flemish Court Manuscripts 1500-1535 (Ghent: Ludion, 1999). Most dates in Table 1 have been taken from these entries.
[5] Bouckaert and Schreurs ('The Dutch song') number the different themes as 1 through 8. A short analysis of the Kyrie of Gascongne's mass is given on pp. 270-72.
[6] The manuscripts have two music scribes in common: scribe 'D' and 'D var.'. See Jacobijn Kiel and Flynn Warmington, 'Overview of the scribes', in Kellman (ed.), The Treasury, 47-52.
[7] Both scripts resemble the respective types of text scribe X, as distinguished in Kiel and Warmington, 'Overview'.
[8] Information from Census Catalogue of Manuscript Sources of Polyphonic Music, 1400-1550, ed. Charles Hamm and Herbert Kellman (5 vols, Neuhausen-Stuttgart: American Institute of Musicology, 1979-88).
[9] This composition is actually the same as a three voice version transmitted in a print of Hieronymous Fromschneider of 1538 and in the manuscript UlmS 237, with a fourth si placet voice by Johannes Hecke. See Bouckaert and Schreurs, 'The Dutch song', 267.

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