Josquin Des Prez (±1450 – 1521): Qui habitat

This twenty-four part (6 × SATB) setting by Josquin of the text of first eight verses of Psalm 90 in the Vulgate. It’s composed of four interwoven six-voice canons augmented by some very intricate and detailed decoration underlain by a harmonic ostinato. Gabriel Jackson’s notes for the performance below can’t be bettered by me: Surviving…

Josquin Des Prez (±1450 1521): Virgo salutiferi

In 1503 Duke Ercole I of Ferrara overruled his advisers and employed Josquin as maestro di cappella they’d advised him to hire Heinrich Isaac instead of Josquin because he was easier to get on with, was more companionable, far less inclined to make a fuss about composing on demand, and last but by no means…

Nicolas Gombert (±1495-±1560): Musae Jovis

Nicolas Gombert’s  "Deploration on the death of Josquin Desprez" is a motet-chanson set in the Phrygian mode. You may sometimes see it referred to as an Ars combinatoria composition which means quite simply that a secular text is combined with a Latin cantus firmus sung by one of the tenor voices in long drawn out…

Josquin Des Prez (±1450 – 1521): Planxit autem David

This is one of those pieces of music whose purpose and context are a mystery to us. The text is a slightly modified version of the biblical verses (2 Samuel 1: 17-27) in which David laments Saul and Jonathan so there’s no discernible liturgical connection. If it’s not liturgical then, given the nature of the…

Josquin Des Prez (±1450 1521): Missa Pange Lingua

Josquin’s Mass setting Missa Pange Lingua is based upon the melody of Pange Lingua, Aquinas’s adaptation of Venantius Fortunatus’ hymn for Corpus Christi. It’s a remarkable piece of music, composed when Josquin was at the height of his power. It’s both a cantus firmus Mass and a paraphrase setting, cantus firmus because Josquin uses the…

Josquin Des Prez (±1450 1521): O virgo virginium

I’ve written about the great ‘O’ antiphons frequently, or to be more precise I’ve written about seven of them. These are the seven antiphons that are sung in the week before Christmas starting with ‘O Sapientia’ and concluding ón December 23rd with ‘O Emmanuel’  most people think that these seven antiphons – the ‘Great Antiphons’…

Josquin Des Prez (±1450-1521): O virgo virginium

I’ve written about the great ‘O’ antiphons frequently, or to be more precise I’ve written about seven of them. These are the seven antiphons that are sung in the week before Christmas starting with ‘O Sapientia’ and concluding ón December 23rd with ‘O Emmanuel’  most people think that these seven antiphons – the ‘Great Antiphons’…

Josquin Des Prez (±1450-1521): Recordare, virgo mater

Some musicologists doubt whether this is really by Josquin but I think the fact that it survived only in Antico’s second book of motets which he published in 1520 isn’t enough to discount it. It’s got an unusual texture – three equal high voices being set against one low one, and is almost relentlessly energetic…

Josquin Des Prez (±1450-1521): Miserere mei

Josquin’s setting of the Psalm Miserere mei, Deus, (Psalm 50, Psalm 51 in the vulgate)is associated with Ash Wednesday, Holy Week, and other penitential occasions.  It’s a lenghty piece that’s one of his most impressive pieces of music and probably was first performed in 1504 during Josquin’s stay at the court of Ferrara. Josquin’s settings…

Josquin Des Prez (±1450-1521): Ave Maria a4

Josquin’s four-part setting of the Ave Maria was hugely influential. Josquin makes heavy use of duets and trios to develop his sequences and musical phrases. His fellow composers were much taken with it among them Ludwig Senfl who wrote a six-part setting based on it. Enjoy :-). markfromireland