Long thought to be a work by Guillaume Dufay, it has only relatively recently been established that the Missa Caput was originally composed in England by an unknown author probably in the 1440s; the removal from Dufay's canon sadly and unjustly resulted in a drop off in interest in performing this magnificent work.
Based upon a long melisma on the final word "caput" in a Maunday Thursday chant of the Sarum Rite, this work was the prototype of the parody mass, and by adding a fourth voice, also the archetype of the standard four voice SATB ensemble, both of which compositional practices quickly spread through Europe. Composers of the stature of Ockeghem and Obrecht used it as a model for their own Missa Caput.
Besides the mass itself, there is a mixed bag of other pieces. The mass itself is interspersed with parts of "The story of the Salva Regina", a plainchant piece narrating a legend as to how this Marian antiphon originated, plus a version of the Salva Regina itself. These are followed by three pieces for a lute trio, three English carols, and an isolated Agnus Dei.
The performances by the vocal ensemble "Gothic Voices" directed by Christopher Page are committed and replete with feeling for the texts, rich and technically outstanding.
The accompanying booklet provides excellent notes, and full Latin/English sung texts with translations.