Adriano 3 (vinyl)
Adriaen Willaert

Adriano 3 (vinyl)

Dionysos Now!

Label: Evil Penguin
Format: LP 12inch
Barcode: 0608917723427
Catalog number: EPRC 0047
- a rediscovered untitled Mass by Adriaen Willaert "Missa Ippolito"
- a hidden ode to the Cardinal of Ferrara, Willaert's patron
Adriaen Willaert must have already been a prolific composer before he assumed the position of kapellmeister at the Basilica of San Marco in Venice. After all, a second Mass of his was included in a large, illuminated choral manuscript that was produced for the Illustrious Brotherhood of Our Blessed Lady in 's-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands (the first Mass in this manuscript, Missa sex vocum super “Benedicta,” can be found on the LP Adriano 2).
The title page of the Mass does not mention the name of the composition, only that of the composer, Adrianus Willart. It was cataloged as a Missa sine nomine, a Mass without a name.

It is assumed that the work was composed between 1522 and 1527, at a time when Willaert was a member of the music chapel of Cardinal Ippolito d'Este in Ferrara, Italy. At first glance, what’s striking about this composition is that one of the tenor voices sings a cantus firmus (a “given, fixed, foundational voice” that provides the basis for each movement of the Mass, to which the other voices are added) that always consists of the same 13 notes: mi ut mi sol mi ut fa mi fa mi re mi.

In an article about the Mass, the musicologist Joshua Rifkin claims to have discovered a sogetto cavato delle parole in this sequence of notes. This is a compositional technique common for the time in which the notes of a melody, in this case the cantus firmus, are derived from the vowels of certain words. The notes used for the tone poetry are those of the Guidonian hexachord, a series of the 6 notes ut-re-mi-fa-sol-la. For example, the word Maria (Ma-ri-a) can be "translated" into the notes la mi la.

The cantus firmus of the Mass, according to Rifkin, fits the words “Primus Ippolitus Cardinalis Estensis” (Ippolito I, Cardinal d'Este) perfectly. The Mass is thus almost certainly (via a hidden message in the music) an ode to the Cardinal of Ferrara who was Willaert’s patron. This rediscovered untitled Mass by Adriaen Willaert, which we have now sung as a world premiere, can therefore rightly bear the name Missa Ippolito.

Dionysos Now! would like to show you that vocal polyphony of the Renaissance is very captivating music, and deserves to be heard by a wider audience.

Dionysos Now! wants to create cathedrals from sounds, in which you perceive the music as if you were flattering the cathedrals with a drone from far above. The brick stones are overall but they seem to merge into the whole, into the 'gestalt', where the radiant music generates much more effervescent energy than the sum of the tones, the contagious flow in the music is sought and captured, like a surfer who seems to have found the perfect wave and seizes his chance to float on it before it goes away again.

With the wise words of Winston Churchill in mind "Never waste a good crisis", Tore Denys started studying the scores of his fellow townsman Adriaen Willaert during the lockdown and so he rediscovered the wonderful music of this Venetian chapel master over the past few months. A new initiative was born: Dionysos Now! Vienna is a brand new project that aims to spread the magnificent heritage of Adriaen Willaert. With Dionysos Now!, Denys would like to demonstrate that Renaissance vocal polyphony is very captivating music that deserves to be appreciated by a wider audience.