(c1445 - 1521)
of the great composers, beloved by Martin Luther, this
composer reached the highest stature during his time. A
master melodist, Josquin--as he is known--is a composer to
be reckoned with.
"Josquin Des Pres"
was one of the most eminent of musicians and the chief
contrapuntist of his day. He was a pupil of the composer
Ockeghem. From 1471 to 1484 he was a singer in the Sistine
Chapel, and about 1488 in Ferrara. He came into eminence
at the turn of the century, when he was about 50 years
old. He was a brilliant composer, and one of the greatest
melodists of all time. His early compositions, written
before 1500, were in the old style of Dufay and Ockeghem.
He probably learned much from his near contemporary
Obrecht, whose music achieved a high point of the 15th
century and from all these influences he evolved his own
Burney called Josquin
"the father of modern harmony." The florid counterpoint of his
sacred music and the secular cantus
firmus that was the basis of most of them
characterized his brilliant music, a music that clearly
became the beginnings of the eras of music known as the Late
or High Renaissance, the music of the 16th Century.
His period coincides with
the use of movable printing typesetting for music, and
therefore his works are
preserved in large quantities in volumes and in the
collections of Petrucci and Peutinger. His French chansons
were published by T. Susato in 1545, Attaignant in 1549,
and Du Chemin in 1553.
Josquin Recordings in the DoveSong MP3 Library
New Grove High Renaissance Masters
W.W. Norton & Company, 1980
ISBN 0393300935 (paperback)
ISBN 0393016897 (hardback)
will serve as a good introduction to Josquin's life and
music, as well as the other great renaissance composers
(Byrd, Victoria, Palestrina and Lassus.