‘An excellent and intriguing anthology….wonderfully sung…containing some of Josquin’s greatest music’ Gramophone
Recording made in 1999.
The earliest mention of Josquin is as a singer in Aix en Provence in 1475. In a short time he would gain a reputation for being the leading composer of the period. He was the first to have his works published, and such was his reputation that many lesser composers passed their music off as being by Josquin some with considerable success.
He was born in 1450 in what today is Belgium, but then was part of the Netherlands. At this period, the Flemish region was a powerhouse for both music and art, and many of its masters travelled widely throughout Europe shaping the artistic agenda for many centuries to follow. Josquin was typical of these much-travelled artistic and cultural envoys. He worked extensively in Italy, at the court in Ferrara, and for the powerful Sforza family in Milan. During his Italian years he met the humanist and writer Angelo Poliziano, and this had a profound effect upon his compositional style. The importance of shaping a composition around the text, giving the words greater impact. Hitherto composers had paid scant attention to the structure of words and syllables, bending and stretching them to suit the melodic line. Josquin combined his mastery of setting words to music with extraordinary displays of contrapuntal genius as can be heard on this CD in the motet Ut Phoebe.
All of his settings are from Biblical or liturgical sources.