Reference AGO 008
Format CD (1)
Prolation is a system of subdividing the structure of a piece in medieval music. In the ‘Mass of Prolations’, Ockeghem exposes his art of composition and his perfect mastery of mensural notation, using the technique in canon called ‘mensuralism’. Contrary to the classical canon that we can find in the French rhyme Frère Jacques, where the canon is due to the successive entry of each vocal part singing exactly the same thing, in the mensuralist canon all the voices start simultaneously and the difference creating the canon results from varying lengths and values of the notes that are sung.
To complicate a little what has been said, the Missa prolationum is considered to be a double canon for four voices. Moreover, the complexity of this work doesn’t reside uniquely in its rhythmic conception. Ockeghem equally employed in his canons all possible intervals including seconds, thirds, sixths and sevenths, probably for the first time in the history of western music. And it was this that J S Bach later did in his canons Musikalisches Opfer.
Beyond this amazing musical feat, Ockeghem delivers to us music of awe-inspiring beauty.
Johannes Ockeghem, Missa prolationum, Alma Redemptoris Mater
01. Alma redemptoris mater
02-06. Missa prolationum
07. Salve regina