More than 400 years after Italian composer Alessandro Striggio wrote his extravagant 40-part Missa sopra Ecco sì beato giorno, it has been rediscovered by a Berkeley music scholar who identified the work and rescued it from obscurity.
Although most of Striggio’s piece is in 40 different voice parts, the last movement is for 60 separate voices (five 12-part choirs) and is the only known piece of 60-part counterpoint in the history of Western music. "It’s one of the first great pieces to use architecture and space, with musical phrases physically moving around the ring from choir to choir," says Professor of Music Davitt Moroney, who after years of research located a complete set of partbooks for the mass in the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. "It is an intellectual achievement of the highest order. There are other large choral works, but Striggio’s mass is unique, with its five eight-part choirs. This is Florentine art at its most spectacular." [continue]