Josquin Desprez

(c. 1440, Picardy, France – 27 August 1521, Condé-sur-Escaut)
   Great composer whose 18 extant masses and over 100 extant motets brought the 15th-century cantus firmus techniques to perfection and at the same time established with consummate mastery the techniques of structural imitation that grounded the sacred music of the entire 16th century and beyond. Although he was the most famous composer of his day, details of his life and the chronology of his works are obscure. The earliest record comes from the cathedral at Milan, listing him as an adult singer of polyphony in August 1459. In January 1473, he moved to the chapel of Milanese Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza, where he remained until December 1476. Thereafter, documentary evidence is spotty until he entered the papal chapel in Rome in 1489. He left that service before 1500, showed up at the French court of Louis XII from 1501–1502, became maestro di cappella for Duke Ercole I d’Este of Ferrara from April 1503–April 1504, and finally retired to the Cathedral of Notre Dame at Condé-sur-Escaut. Throughout most of his career, he commanded the highest salaries for musicians of his time.
   Josquin’s masses explore virtually every contrapuntal technique of the Renaissance: the traditional tenor cantus firmus (Missa Gaudeamus), the secular cantus firmus (Missa L’ami Baudichon), the transposing cantus firmus (Missa L’homme Armé Super Voces Musicales), the acrostic cantus firmus (Missa Hercules Dux Ferrarie), the parody mass (Missa Mater Patris, from the motet by Antoine Brumel), the paraphrase mass (Missa Pange Lingua), and mensuration canon (Missa L’homme Armé Super Voces Musicales). The Agnus Dei of the Missa L’homme Armé Sexti Toni summarizes his mastery: the popular tune appears in long notes moving forward and backward in two voices simultaneously, while the other four voices construct two canons.
   Josquin’s motets also show enormous variety of technique and texture, ranging from melismatic duets reminiscent of Guillaume Du Fay (Alma Redemptoris Mater / Ave Regina Celorum) to simple but harmonically profound homophonies (Tu solus) to every kind of imitative scheme (Ave Maria . . . virgo serena). Settings may be concise, or monumental works of several partes (Miserere mei, Deus). The motets have the advantage over the masses of textual variety and expressive resource. Josquin takes both semantic and structural aspects of every text into account in his settings.
   Difficult to capture are the harmonic and rhythmic properties of his music. Despite the strictures of imitation, the timing of the vocal entrances and above all the triadic progressions of the counterpoint seem absolutely free and truly profound.
   The direct influence of Josquin lasted a generation or two after his death when his music was widely circulated in print and manuscript. But the indirect influence, chiefly through the demonstration by him and his colleagues Johannes Ockeghem, Jean Mouton, Pierre de la Rue, Nicholas Gombert, and others, of the musical effectiveness of imitative technique lasts through the present day.

Historical dictionary of sacred music. . 2006.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Josquin Desprez — (auch Jossequin Lebloitte oder Josquin des Préz oder Josquinus Pratensis; * zwischen 1450 und 1455 in Saint Quentin; † 27. August 1521 in Condé sur l’Escaut, Frankreich) war ein franko flämischer Komponist und Sänger. Josquin Desprez beherrschte… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Josquin Desprez — Josquin des Prés Josquin des Prés Josquin Desprez Gravure sur bois d après une peinture aujourd hui perdue[1] …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Josquin Desprez —   [ʒɔs kɛ̃ de pre], Josquin des Prés, frankoflämischer Komponist, * vielleicht Beaurevoir (bei Saint Quentin) um 1440, ✝ Condé sur l Escaut (bei Valenciennes) 27. 8. 1521; wohl Schüler von J. Ockeghem, wirkte als Kapellsänger in Mailand (1459 72) …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Josquin Desprez — (Schoskäng Däpreh), lat. Jodocus Pratensis, berühmter Contrapunctist aus der Zeit vor Palestrina, wahrscheinlich aus der Picardie gebürtig, verpflanzte die Lehre des Contrapuncts nach Italien, indem er von 1471–84 die neue Kunst in Rom lehrte.… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Josquin — des Prés Josquin des Prés Josquin Desprez Gravure sur bois d après une peinture aujourd hui perdue[1] …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Josquin Des Prés — Josquin Desprez Gravure sur bois d après une peinture aujourd hui perdue[1] …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Josquin des Prez — Josquin des Prés Josquin des Prés Josquin Desprez Gravure sur bois d après une peinture aujourd hui perdue[1] …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Josquin des Prés — Josquin Desprez, Josquinus pratensis Gravure sur bois d après une peinture aujourd hui perdue[1] …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Josquin des Prez — or Josquin Desprez [zhō̂s kan′ dā prā′] 1440? 1521; Fr. composer * * * born с 1445, Condé sur l Escaut?, Burgundian Hainaut died Aug. 27, 1521, Condé sur l Escaut Northern French composer. Perhaps a student of Johannes Ockeghem, he spent his… …   Universalium

  • Desprez —   [de pre], des Prez,    1) Josquin, frankoflämischer Komponist, Josquin Desprez.    2) Louis Jean, französisch schwedischer Architekt und Maler, * Auxerre 28. 5. 1743, ✝ Stockholm 19. 3. 1804; 1784 von König Gustav III. als Theaterdekorateur… …   Universal-Lexikon

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