Author Topic: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)  (Read 19776 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)
« Reply #60 on: June 28, 2019, 04:30:54 AM »


I think this is interesting for three reasons, viz:

1.  Basically what they've done is take some Josquin settings for more than one voice, and set them as songs for a soloist accompanied by a lute. Apparently, and not surprisingly, a perfectly common way of going about things in Josquin's day, and was much appreciated for the way it allows the listener to focus on the impact of a melody rather than the ingenuity of the interaction of several melodies.

2. The voice of the singer, a deepish tenor / highish baritone called Romain Bockler, which is nice and milk chocolatey.

3. A lute specially built for some of the songs, the result of a serious Swiss research project by the looks of it, which they call a bray lute, it sounds like a twangy harp and they cite reasons in texts to support the suggestion that it's possibly like what C 15 century lutes would have sounded like. It's a bit of a shock to the ears, but by no means in a bad way.

Worth a listen I'd say, nice music for the June sunshine.

« Last Edit: June 28, 2019, 05:02:31 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)
« Reply #61 on: April 12, 2020, 07:27:28 AM »
Bump for a great composer.

I got a CD recently of the Hilliard Ensemble singing Motets and Chansons of Josquin Desprez. This is some extremely impressive music. In fact, I find it difficult to listen to in anything but a small dose, on account of the densely polyphonic beauty of it all. I don't think I'm ready to dive into his liturgical music—I think that hearing a full mass of his by the right ensemble would render me immobilized and speechless for an hour or so, and convinced that Josquin was the greatest composer to ever live.

Indeed, I recently read the testimony of a member on another board who claimed that Josquin's music was the culmination of an aesthetic that is superior to that of later music, something more attuned to a spiritual plane that we no longer fully have access to, or at least that we do not celebrate like we used to, or something along those lines. For whatever reason this comment stuck with me and I've been thinking about it a lot, and trying to understand Renaissance and Medieval polyphony for what it is. Listening to Josquin's music, I am inclined to agree.

But anyway, it's more than I can take at the present moment. I will stick with Dufay and Frye and Machaut and Pérotin for now. I am still able to get a glimpse of that same form and ideal from their music.

Anyone listening to Josquin lately? What are some essential discs of his music? I only have that Hilliard disc on Virgin Veritas, and an Archiv CD with the Missa "L'homme armé super voces musicales", which I have decided not to tackle just yet for reasons alluded to above.

Offline T. D.

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Re: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)
« Reply #62 on: April 12, 2020, 07:53:30 AM »
Josquin is probably my favorite composer in the "Renaissance polyphony" sector. Recently have been giving him a rest and listening to others, though.
Many others are far more qualified to recommend recordings, so take the following with a grain of salt.
You recently inquired about the Binchois Consort: this is quite good and mostly Josquin. [Oops: authorship of almost all the pieces attributed to Josquin have been disputed. My bad.]

Most recent Josquin I listened to was this 2-disc series:
 

FWIW, over the years I got a big share of my Renaissance polyphony recordings from Berkshire Record Outlet, particularly titles on the Hyperion and Gimell labels. But I haven't checked BRO's inventory lately.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2020, 09:09:46 AM by T. D. »

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)
« Reply #63 on: April 12, 2020, 08:11:34 AM »
^Thanks for that. I've been looking at that Binchois Consort disc. I'm sure it's great. And those CPO discs look interesting as well.

I'm not really familiar with Berkshire Record Outlet, though I have seen a few references to them lately. Are they still up and running?

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)
« Reply #64 on: April 12, 2020, 08:19:46 AM »
Bump for a great composer.

I got a CD recently of the Hilliard Ensemble singing Motets and Chansons of Josquin Desprez. This is some extremely impressive music. In fact, I find it difficult to listen to in anything but a small dose, on account of the densely polyphonic beauty of it all. I don't think I'm ready to dive into his liturgical music—I think that hearing a full mass of his by the right ensemble would render me immobilized and speechless for an hour or so, and convinced that Josquin was the greatest composer to ever live.

Indeed, I recently read the testimony of a member on another board who claimed that Josquin's music was the culmination of an aesthetic that is superior to that of later music, something more attuned to a spiritual plane that we no longer fully have access to, or at least that we do not celebrate like we used to, or something along those lines. For whatever reason this comment stuck with me and I've been thinking about it a lot, and trying to understand Renaissance and Medieval polyphony for what it is. Listening to Josquin's music, I am inclined to agree.

But anyway, it's more than I can take at the present moment. I will stick with Dufay and Frye and Machaut and Pérotin for now. I am still able to get a glimpse of that same form and ideal from their music.

Anyone listening to Josquin lately? What are some essential discs of his music? I only have that Hilliard disc on Virgin Veritas, and an Archiv CD with the Missa "L'homme armé super voces musicales", which I have decided not to tackle just yet for reasons alluded to above.

I sang in a concert of Josquin's music last December. We performed the entire Missa Pange Lingua (transposed up a minor third to G phrygian, because we had an SATB choir). We didn't do it straight through though, it was interspersed with other Josquin motets and chansons.

Before I had the experience of singing 15th/16th century polyphony, I didn't understand it nearly as well as I do now. When you're on the inside, you can feel the motion of the individual lines and understand the sense of the whole.

Tallis scholars, also singing transposed to G phrygian (though we sang with more sharpened ficta leading tones):
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/vlB1HR4BgUg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/vlB1HR4BgUg</a>
"l do not consider my music as atonal, but rather as non-tonal. I feel the unity of all keys. Atonal music by modern composers admits of no key at all, no feeling of any definite center." - Arnold Schoenberg

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)
« Reply #65 on: April 12, 2020, 08:30:01 AM »


Indeed, I recently read the testimony of a member on another board who claimed that Josquin's music was the culmination of an aesthetic that is superior to that of later music, something more attuned to a spiritual plane that we no longer fully have access to, or at least that we do not celebrate like we used to, or something along those lines. For whatever reason this comment stuck with me and I've been thinking about it a lot, and trying to understand Renaissance and Medieval polyphony for what it is. Listening to Josquin's music, I am inclined to agree.


Well I don't know about spiritual planes, but I'm not very keen on what I think of as post-Josquin music, from the first half of the 16th century. The textures thicken, there's less relief and things become a bit drab. Gombert  and Willaert are two composers whose church music I've tried and tried to see the point of, and failed. There are probably exceptions, Regnart for example.

Bump for a great composer.

I got a CD recently of the Hilliard Ensemble singing Motets and Chansons of Josquin Desprez. This is some extremely impressive music. In fact, I find it difficult to listen to in anything but a small dose, on account of the densely polyphonic beauty of it all. I don't think I'm ready to dive into his liturgical music—I think that hearing a full mass of his by the right ensemble would render me immobilized and speechless for an hour or so, and convinced that Josquin was the greatest composer to ever live.


One thing you may agree with me about if you hear a Josquin mass well sung is how much his art is about beautiful of sound, sound which is polished till it glows, flames out, gathers to a greatness like the ooze of oil crushed. The first time I heard a Josquin mass in a church, sung by professionals, I was just astonished at the sound of it resonating off the ancient walls, bouncing off the stained glass.

By the way, generally I think it's not a good idea to focus on mass cycles at the expense of motets. Some of the motets are real masterpieces.

I will stick with Dufay and Frye and Machaut and Pérotin for now.

All earlier than Josquin, Machaut and Perotin especially are from a totally different aesthetic point of view I think.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2020, 09:17:13 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline T. D.

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Re: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)
« Reply #66 on: April 12, 2020, 08:41:02 AM »
^Thanks for that. I've been looking at that Binchois Consort disc. I'm sure it's great. And those CPO discs look interesting as well.

I'm not really familiar with Berkshire Record Outlet, though I have seen a few references to them lately. Are they still up and running?

I was a huge customer of Berkshire going back to the mid-'90s. They are a big source of cutout/remainder/overstock CDs. I suspect that their business fell off in recent years as "major labels" reissued vast chunks of back catalog in ultra-budget boxes. At various times they've stocked loads of Hyperions and Brilliant Classics.
A few years ago I abandoned BRO completely because their website became completely worthless and unusable.
This year the website, though still awful, was "improved" and can be used with a considerable amount of patience. After long hiatus I placed a couple of orders recently.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2020, 08:59:31 AM by T. D. »

Offline T. D.

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Re: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)
« Reply #67 on: April 12, 2020, 09:07:38 AM »
Apologies! Most of the pieces on the Binchois Consort Josquin and his contemporaries recording I mentioned above are of questionable provenance, once attributed to Josquin but now disputed.
Perhaps not a good place to start.
I do enjoy the recording, though.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)
« Reply #68 on: April 12, 2020, 09:26:08 AM »
All earlier than Josquin, Machaut and Perotin especially are from a totally different aesthetic point of view I think.

Do you see them as belonging to a continuum of influence from one to the next? This is how I was looking at it, but it may be that these composers all developed in isolation from one another, and we may not know exactly who influenced whom. Especially since surely so many names have been forgotten between these earlier centuries and now.

Well I don't know about spiritual planes, but I'm not very keen on what I think of as post-Josquin music, from the first half of the 16th century. The textures thicken, there's less relief and things become a bit drab. Gombert  and Willaert are two composers whose church music I've tried and tried to see the point of, and failed. There are probably exceptions, Regnart for example.

Interesting. I've never listened to Willaert, Gombert or Regnart. I'm new to Renaissance music. But as I've stated my preferences are more toward the earlier stuff into the Medieval, I wonder if I wouldn't feel similarly.

By the way, generally I think it's not a good idea to focus on mass cycles at the expense of motets. Some of the motets are real masterpieces.

Noted. I have that disc of motets and chansons that is really good, probably the best Josquin I've heard yet.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)
« Reply #69 on: April 12, 2020, 09:27:55 AM »
Apologies! Most of the pieces on the Binchois Consort Josquin and his contemporaries recording I mentioned above are of questionable provenance, once attributed to Josquin but now disputed.
Perhaps not a good place to start.
I do enjoy the recording, though.

Thanks for letting me know. It may still be of interest to me, in any case.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)
« Reply #70 on: April 12, 2020, 09:31:02 AM »
I sang in a concert of Josquin's music last December. We performed the entire Missa Pange Lingua (transposed up a minor third to G phrygian, because we had an SATB choir). We didn't do it straight through though, it was interspersed with other Josquin motets and chansons.

Before I had the experience of singing 15th/16th century polyphony, I didn't understand it nearly as well as I do now. When you're on the inside, you can feel the motion of the individual lines and understand the sense of the whole.

Tallis scholars, also singing transposed to G phrygian (though we sang with more sharpened ficta leading tones):
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/vlB1HR4BgUg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/vlB1HR4BgUg</a>

That sounds like a righteous experience. I’ve long wanted to sing in a Renaissance polyphony choir or vocal ensemble. I’m a rock & roll singer with no classical training whatsoever, but I think I could make that work to my advantage.  :laugh:

Offline San Antone

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Re: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)
« Reply #71 on: April 12, 2020, 09:53:25 AM »
Bump for a great composer.

I got a CD recently of the Hilliard Ensemble singing Motets and Chansons of Josquin Desprez. This is some extremely impressive music. In fact, I find it difficult to listen to in anything but a small dose, on account of the densely polyphonic beauty of it all. I don't think I'm ready to dive into his liturgical music—I think that hearing a full mass of his by the right ensemble would render me immobilized and speechless for an hour or so, and convinced that Josquin was the greatest composer to ever live.

Indeed, I recently read the testimony of a member on another board who claimed that Josquin's music was the culmination of an aesthetic that is superior to that of later music, something more attuned to a spiritual plane that we no longer fully have access to, or at least that we do not celebrate like we used to, or something along those lines. For whatever reason this comment stuck with me and I've been thinking about it a lot, and trying to understand Renaissance and Medieval polyphony for what it is. Listening to Josquin's music, I am inclined to agree.

But anyway, it's more than I can take at the present moment. I will stick with Dufay and Frye and Machaut and Pérotin for now. I am still able to get a glimpse of that same form and ideal from their music.

Anyone listening to Josquin lately? What are some essential discs of his music? I only have that Hilliard disc on Virgin Veritas, and an Archiv CD with the Missa "L'homme armé super voces musicales", which I have decided not to tackle just yet for reasons alluded to above.

Josquin was the most famous European composer between Guillaume Dufay and Giovanni Pierluigi da 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. (Wiki description)

Keep in mind that Josquin was born 150 years after Machaut and 50 years after Dufay, and Machaut was born 150 years after Leonin and 100 years after Perotin.  We tend to conflate these composers into the Early Music category, but so much time separated them, their styles are fairly distinct. 

During Machaut's time the writing was still thought of in a linear fashion, whereas by the time of Josquin, vertical harmonies took on their own meaning and were the beginnings of our tonal (major/minor) system.  By the time of Palestrina (225 years after Machaut and 75 years after Josquin), tonality was on firm ground and which came to fruition with Bach.

Josquin was so famous that works were often attributed to him when there was no solid evidence to do so, only recently have works long thought to have been written by him to come into question.  But that is not to say that even works of questionable attribution are not really good music.  The composer Loyset Compère was long thought to have been influenced by Josquin, but because of new information his dates were recently pushed back a decade, leading to the opposite idea of who influenced whom, i.e. Josquin was influenced by Compère, to become accepted.

For myself, I prefer the earlier composers, Machaut and Dufay, and later ones like Palestrina, to Josquin.  But like Wiki said, Josquin is considered the "master of the high Renaissance style".

Machaut was also very famous, and I would be surprised if Josquin did not know his music - but as for other composers, it would be hard to say.  Much of this music was limited to a relatively small regional area.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)
« Reply #72 on: April 12, 2020, 10:53:04 AM »
^OK, I was wrong to say those names in a sentence. I didn't mean to imply that I found any one of them similar to any other. As for whether or not any of them knew the music of another, I don't know, but I know that Walter Frye's music, at least, was somehow disseminated all over Europe despite that there is no record of his ever having left England. I'm curious if this was the case with any of the others, but I suppose it is wrong to assume a chain of influence between any of these composers like what we would see later on (ie. Vivaldi influenced Bach influenced Mozart influenced Beethoven etc etc).

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)
« Reply #73 on: April 12, 2020, 11:20:54 AM »
^OK, I was wrong to say those names in a sentence. I didn't mean to imply that I found any one of them similar to any other. As for whether or not any of them knew the music of another, I don't know, but I know that Walter Frye's music, at least, was somehow disseminated all over Europe despite that there is no record of his ever having left England. I'm curious if this was the case with any of the others, but I suppose it is wrong to assume a chain of influence between any of these composers like what we would see later on (ie. Vivaldi influenced Bach influenced Mozart influenced Beethoven etc etc).

Josquin wrote a famous memorial piece on the death of Ockeghem, who was an important composer of the immediately preceding generation, and Josquin likewise was seen as very important by contemporaries and immediate successors. I'm not sure how literal the notion of a Franco-Flemish "school" of composition was, and would leave that to specialists, but certainly the composers of each generation studied the works of prior generations.

This might not have gone back very far, though, as I seem to recall one person in the late 1400s saying that no one thought there was any music more than a few decades old worth listening to or performing.
"l do not consider my music as atonal, but rather as non-tonal. I feel the unity of all keys. Atonal music by modern composers admits of no key at all, no feeling of any definite center." - Arnold Schoenberg

Offline deprofundis

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Re: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)
« Reply #74 on: June 16, 2020, 05:01:00 PM »
What is the best Josquin desprz recording worth mentioning and why the heck, Josquin stabat mater by Ensemble Jachet de Mantue, the most prettiest music yet to come before and after what a great records , a milestone this is, in term of execution, one darn sold Josquin release, love it to death, and the one on Ricercare, very good Josquin in deeds, hail Josquin christic radiance, is works trown there and perform here superb magnitude.

Inviolata wow astral bliss for heavens of heavens that on Jachet de Mantoue ensemble there my favorite ensemble since  there so good.. who whit me on this ensemble , they did super Morales Missae's wow , and adieu mes amours song on Ricercare all does it's a fabulous release.
Jachet de mantua is supreme sublimea pure shinning star of heaven, were am  I goeing whit all of this what you'''re favorite release so far.
Classical & Jazz music is the food of the soul

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Offline amw

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Re: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)
« Reply #75 on: June 17, 2020, 12:32:06 AM »
I think the ones I listen to the most are the two Weser-Renaissance Bremen/Manfred Cordes albums on CPO, and the Hilliard Ensemble double on Virgin. But that may just be a result of getting the Ensemble Jachet de Mantoue one more recently because it's very good.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)
« Reply #76 on: September 07, 2020, 02:38:30 PM »
Bump. Josquin is making more and more sense to me...



My dad bought this for me sometime last year, but somehow I always end up listening to the Ockeghem Requiem and not the Josquin. I'm listening to it now and I like what I'm hearing.

@Mandryka, that "Adieu Mes Amours" disc looks amazing. Going to have to seek that out.

Offline Old San Antone

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Re: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)
« Reply #77 on: September 07, 2020, 03:49:18 PM »
Bump. Josquin is making more and more sense to me...



My dad bought this for me sometime last year, but somehow I always end up listening to the Ockeghem Requiem and not the Josquin. I'm listening to it now and I like what I'm hearing.

The Pro Cantione Antiqua led by Bruno Turner or Mark Brown is excellent. Their several Palestrina recordings are among my favorites, as is I'm sure this disc you posted.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)
« Reply #78 on: September 07, 2020, 04:07:59 PM »
The Pro Cantione Antiqua led by Bruno Turner or Mark Brown is excellent. Their several Palestrina recordings are among my favorites, as is I'm sure this disc you posted.

I see a few Palestrina discs from them. I'll have to check it out. Would you agree that they sing the music in the context of later styles of music? Ie. that they look forward to the late Renaissance and Baroque rather than looking backward to the Medieval. (That's a nicer way of framing a criticism I read on another board against this recording, with the implication that their approach was wrongheaded.)
« Last Edit: September 07, 2020, 04:11:26 PM by vers la flamme »

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Josquin Desprez (c1450–1455 - 27 Aug 1521)
« Reply #79 on: September 07, 2020, 10:45:11 PM »


@Mandryka, that "Adieu Mes Amours" disc looks amazing. Going to have to seek that out.

How you feel about it will, of course, depend on your reaction to Romain Bockler’s voice.  I don’t feel that he’s a great enunciator of poetry. For me it’s a good enough CD for the creating a background mood, but doesn’t repay close and critical lstening,
« Last Edit: September 07, 2020, 10:50:52 PM by Mandryka »
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