Josquin des Prez

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Josquin des Prez


(also J. Després or J. des Prés). Born circa 1440, in Picardy; died Aug. 27, 1521, in Condé-sur-1’Escaut. Franco-Flemish composer.

Josquin was probably a pupil of J. Ockeghem. The humanistic art of Italy, where he primarily worked, influenced the development of his creative outlook. He was a choirboy at the court chapel in Milan from 1474 to 1479, and at the Sistine Chapel in Rome from approximately 1486 to 1494. From 1495 to 1499 he directed the choir of the cathedral at Cambrai; in 1489 he directed a cathedral choir at Modena. In 1500, Josquin served at the court of Louis XII in Paris. From 1501 to 1503 he was the court choirmaster in Ferrara. He spent the last years of his life as a provost of a cathedral in Condé.

Josquin was one of the major composers of polyphonic music of the Renaissance. Having synthesized the achievements of the Netherlands school, he created innovative religious and secular works which closely resemble the intonations of folk songs. In masses, motets, and songs (French chanson and Italian frottole), he subordinated a refined polyphonic technique to new problems of expression. Spontaneity of feeling is expressed in the brightness and vitality of his musical compositions. His progressive and humanistic com-positions were important in the development of new tendencies in 16th-century European music. An edition of Josquin des Prez’s collected works is being published in Leipzig and Amsterdam (as of 1968, 54 installments had appeared).


lakovleva, E. G. Zhoskin de-Pre: Biograficheskii ocherk. Moscow, 1910.
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Desprez, 1669), item 103-298 (author's translation).
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445-453) lists other musicians called Josquin or similar--the heading to the Josquin article in Grove Music Online "Josquin (Lebloitte dit) des Prez [Josse, Gosse, Joskin, Jossequin, Josquinus, Jodocus, Judocus, Juschino; Desprez, des Pres, des Pres, de Pres, a Prato, de Prato, Pratensis]" sums up the problem neatly, if not exactly elegantly.