Missa L’homme armé (15-16c.)

Compiled by Jerome F. Weber

This discography of almost forty Masses composed on the cantus firmus of L’homme armé (thirty-one of them currently represented) makes accessible a list of this group of recordings not easily found in one place. A preliminary list was published in Fanfare 26:4 (March/April 2003) in conjunction with a recording of Busnoys’s Mass. The composers are listed in the order found in Craig Wright, The Maze and the Warrior (Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 2001), p. 288; the list is alphabetical within broad eras. In particular, he discusses Du Fay (pp. 175ff.), Regis (pp. 178ff.), the Naples Masses (pp. 184ff.), and Josquin des Prez (pp. 188ff.).

Richard Taruskin, “Antoine Busnoys and the L’Homme armé Tradition,” Journal of AMS, XXXIX:2 (Summer 1986), pp. 255-93, writes about Busnoys and the Naples Masses, suggesting (pp. 260ff.) that Busnoys’s Mass is the earliest of the group and that the Naples Masses are also by him. Fabrice Fitch, Johannes Ockeghem: Masses and Models (Paris, 1997, pp. 62ff.), suggests that Ockeghem’s setting is the earliest. Craig Wright, op. cit. (p. 175), calls Du Fay’s the first setting. Alejandro Planchart, Guillaume Du Fay (Cambridge, 2018, p. 594) firmly calls Du Fay and Ockeghem the composers of the first two Masses, jointly commissioned by Philip the Good in May 1461.

For a discussion of Taruskin’s article, see Journal of AMS, XL:1 (Spring 1987), pp. 139-53 and XL:3 (Fall 1987), pp. 576-80. See also Leeman Perkins, “The L’Homme armé Masses of Busnoys and Okeghem: A Comparison,” Journal of Musicology, 3 (1984), pp. 363-96, and Richard Taruskin, The Oxford History of Western Music (2005), I: 483-500. For a study of the Masses by Josquin and Morales, see Joseph Sargent, “Morales, Josquin and the L’homme armé Tradition,” in Early Music History 30 (2011), pp. 177-212. The relation of Tinctoris to Busnoys is discussed in Emily Zazulia, “Composing in Theory: Busnoys, Tinctoris, and the L’homme armé Tradition,” Journal of AMS, 71:1 (Spring 2018), pp. 1-73.  Kevin N. Moll discusses the series of works broadly in “Streaming Music into Renaissance Studies: The Case of L’homme armé,” Explorations in Renaissance Culture, 43 (2017), pp. 109-39.

Twenty-three of the Masses have been recorded complete, but only six have been recorded more than twice (Du Fay, Ockeghem, two by Josquin des Prez, La Rue, and one by Palestrina).  The recordings of each work are arranged chronologically, citing conductor, ensemble, and date of recording if known. Following is the issued format (78, 45, 33, LP, LP quad, MC, CD, SACD, DVD), the label, the issue number(s) and an album title.

p. 2, 1450s- ; p. 7, 1480s- ; p. 11, 1520s- ; p. 12, 1550s- ; p. 13, 1600s- ; p. 14, appendix

PMMS LHomme Arme Masses Discography June 2021 (opens pdf)

October 2017; revised December 2018; revised May 2020; revised July 2020; revised June 2021.

In the same series: discographies of composers and subjects ranging from the 12th to the 16th centuries.

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