Josquin des Prez

~ Person


Josquin des Prez (French: [ʒɔskɛ̃ depʁe]; c. 1450/1455 – 27 August 1521), often referred to simply as Josquin, was a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance. His original name is sometimes given as Josquin Lebloitte and his later name is given under a wide variety of spellings in French, Italian, and Latin, including Iosquinus Pratensis and Iodocus a Prato. His motet Illibata Dei virgo nutrix includes an acrostic of his name, where he spelled it "Josquin des Prez". He was the most famous European composer between Guillaume Dufay and Palestrina, and is usually considered to be the central figure of the Franco-Flemish School. Josquin is widely considered by music scholars to be the first master of the high Renaissance style of polyphonic vocal music that was emerging during his lifetime.

During the 16th century, Josquin gradually acquired the reputation as the greatest composer of the age, his mastery of technique and expression universally imitated and admired. Writers as diverse as Baldassare Castiglione and Martin Luther wrote about his reputation and fame; theorists such as Heinrich Glarean and Gioseffo Zarlino held his style as that best representing perfection. He was so admired that many anonymous compositions were attributed to him by copyists, probably to increase their sales. More than 370 works are attributed to him; it was only after the advent of modern analytical scholarship that some of these mistaken attributions have been challenged, on the basis of stylistic features and manuscript evidence. Yet in spite of Josquin's colossal reputation, which endured until the beginning of the Baroque era and was revived in the 20th century, his biography is shadowy, and next to nothing is known about his personality. The only surviving work which may be in his own hand is a graffito on the wall of the Sistine Chapel, and only one contemporary mention of his character is known, in a letter to Duke Ercole I of Ferrara. The lives of dozens of minor composers of the Renaissance are better documented than the life of Josquin.

Josquin wrote both sacred and secular music, and in all of the significant vocal forms of the age, including masses, motets, chansons and frottole. During the 16th century, he was praised for both his supreme melodic gift and his use of ingenious technical devices. In modern times, scholars have attempted to ascertain the basic details of his biography, and have tried to define the key characteristics of his style to correct misattributions, a task that has proved difficult, as Josquin liked to solve compositional problems in different ways in successive compositions—sometimes he wrote in an austere style devoid of ornamentation, and at other times he wrote music requiring considerable virtuosity. Heinrich Glarean wrote in 1547 that Josquin was not only a "magnificent virtuoso" (the Latin can be translated also as "show-off") but capable of being a "mocker", using satire effectively. While the focus of scholarship in recent years has been to remove music from the "Josquin canon" (including some of his most famous pieces) and to reattribute it to his contemporaries, the remaining music represents some of the most famous and enduring of the Renaissance.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1986 De la Rue: Requiem / Des Prez: Mass "Hercules Dux Ferrariae" / Deploration Pierre de la Rue, Josquin des Prez; New London Chamber Choir, James Wood 1
1986 Missa Pange Lingua Josquin des Prez; Ensemble Organum, Clement Janequin Ensemble 1 2
1986 Missa Pange lingua / Missa La sol fa re mi / Plainchant: Pange lingua Josquin; The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips 1
1988 Adieu, mes amours - Chansons (Ensemble Clement Janequin) Josquin des Prez 1
1988 Messe "Pange lingua" (Ensemble Métamorphoses de Paris feat. conductor: Maurice Bourbon) Josquin des Prez 1
1989 Stabat Mater / Motets Josquin Desprez; La Chapelle Royale, Philippe Herreweghe 1
1989 L'homme armé Masses Josquin des Prez; The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips 2
1992 Missa Pange lingua Josquin des Prez; Westminster Cathedral Choir, James O'Donnell 2
1993 Messe Ave Maris Stella - A Sei Voci Josquin des Prez 1
1997 Motets / Masses Desprez, Palestrina; Collegium Musicum Aldovadensis, Gottfried Preinfalk 1
1997 Missa Hercules Dux Ferrariae (A Sei Voci, Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris, Les Saqueboutiers de Toulouse, Ensemble Labyrinthes feat. conductor: Bernard Fabre-Garrus) Josquin des Prez 1
1998 Missa L'homme armé Josquin; Oxford Camerata, Jeremy Summerly 1
2000 Missa Pange Lingua / Motets Josquin des Prez; A Sei Voci, Bernard Fabre-Garrus 1
2000 Motets (Orlando Consort) Josquin des Prez 1
2000 Missa "l'homme armé sexti toni" / Chansons Josquin des Prez; Ensemble Obsidienne, Emmanuel Bonnardot 1
2001 Josquin Desprez, Volume 6 : Messes de l'Homme Armé Josquin Desprez; A Sei Voci, Bernard Fabre-Garrus, Maîtrise des Pays de la Loire 1
2002 Missa Malheur me bat, Motets & Chansons (The Clerks' Group feat. conductor: Edward Wickham) Josquin des Prez 1
2005 The Complete Recorder Works of Rubbra and Britten (The Flautadors, Dante Quartet) Josquin des Prez / Edmund Rubbra / Juan Vásquez / Benjamin Britten / Guillaume de Machaut 1
2008 Missa Sine nomine & Missa Ad fugam (The Tallis Scholars) Josquin des Prez 1
2009 Masses: Malheur Me Bat, Fortuna Desperata (The Tallis Scholars) Josquin des Prez 1
2011 Les fantaisies de Josquin: The Instrumental Music of Josquin Desprez Josquin Desprez; Ensemble Leones, Marc Lewon 1
2013 Se congie prens Josquin des Prez 1
Josquin: Motets & Chansons (The Hilliard Ensemble) Josquin des Prez 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1998 Ockeghem: Missa L'Homme armé / Ave Maria / Alma Redomptoris Mater / Josquin: Memor esto verbi tuo Ockeghem, Josquin; Oxford Camerata, Jeremy Summerly 1
2006 The Tallis Scholars Sing Josquin Josquin des Prez 1

Unspecified type

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1994 Messe Ave Maris Stella & Motets à la Vierge Josquin des Prez; A Sei Voci 1
1997 Missa Gaudeamus Josquin des Prez 1
2007 The Essential Josquin des Prez Josquin des Prez 1
Missa "Ave maris stella"; Motets & Chansons Josquin des Prez;The Taverner Choir, Consort & Players,Andrew Parrott 1

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