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.
References in periodicals archive ?
In his introduction, Bonniffet takes issue with musicologists, such as Gustave Reese, who see the music of Josquin des Pres as a watershed in the evolution of European music.
Involving more than 40 voices and instrumentalists performing music by Palestrina and Josquin des Pres among others, it also calls for three actors: Sarah Dunant herself, Deborah Findlay and Niamh Cusack.
The profusion of formal elegies by jean Molinet, Josquin des Pres, Guillaume Cretin, jean Lemaire de Belges, Erasmus of Rotterdam and others lamenting Ockeghem's death in 1497 reflect the extent of renown he attained during his lifetime.
Music already installed on his system includes works by Palestrina and Josquin des Pres.