PALESTRINA: Missa Sine Nomine / Missa L'Homme Arme / Motets (San Petronio Cappella Musicale Soloists/ Sergio Vartolo/ Silvia Melloncelli) (Naxos: 8.553314)
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Palestrina wrote 104 masses, 43 of which were published in his own lifetime, and all but two composed in the last 40 years of his life.
While the famous Missa Papae Marcelli was a rather radical composition, the majority of Palestrina's masses were of a more conventional nature. Very often, they were modelled on the works of composers which had preceded him, though they were normally elaborations on the models from his counterparts.
The two major works on this disc, are both in six conventional sections, the Missa L'Homme Armé, having been composed in around 1582, with the Missa Sine nomine, two years later. They are therefore from the latter years, though dates of composition are to say the least, somewhat blurred. He was even more prolific with his motets, with 177 published between 1563 and 1584, and a further 72 published after his death. Most are quite short, but of their type, are short masterpieces.
The edition, which could be described as \pop" Palestrina, makes an ideal introduction to his music, and it is superbly performed by the group from Bologna, in a recording made in Verona, during October 1995.