The Missa Quam pulchra es was copied in the Toledo Cathedral Cantoral polifónico 13 (1543, with some later additions). According to Stevenson, this anonymous five voice Mass (SSATB) is “not Berchem, Clemens nor Gombert, but a Mass of their generation”.
This Mass was probably composed to be performed exclusively by adults, as the pitch is very low for the five voices: the Tiple I (Soprano 1) reaches a low F3 in the Credo (lower than the bass note on that bar).
An enigmatic canon can be read in the Agnus Dei: Sicut tenebrae eius ita et lumen eius. This means that the black notes must be read as if they were white, and vice versa. As a consequence, the white notes must be read as semibreve tuplets, giving the mass a polyrhythmic ending.
The original text underlay has been respected, though sometimes two syllables are indicated for one single note. This is marked with an asterisk (*). In the Et incarnatus est of the Credo another text underlay is suggested in italics.
© Jorge Martín