Recently, biographers of Josquin des Prez have been playing a game something akin to "Where's Waldo? Quentin, France, and was given first employment at the cathedral of Milan in There have been unconfirmed sightings of youthful Josquin also in Nancy, Troyes, Blois, and Paris-it turns out that more than one musician had the name "Josquin," or "Jossequin," or "Jodocus," or "Josquinus. What his biography does affect, however, is the way we view the development of the musical style of an individual who was surely one of the greatest composers of the Renaissance some would say the greatest. Is his beautiful Ave Maria a relatively early work or a mid-career one? An early one, it turns out.
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You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly. Sixteenth century master composer Josquin Desprez wrote some of the most strikingly glorious music I've ever encountered.
I first heard Josquin's masterpiece Ave Maria in , and I simply had to play it! Couldn't a quartet of saxophones replace the four original voices? When I ran the idea by Northwestern University's renowned medieval and renaissance music scholar Theodore Karp, he replied, "Why not?! Ave Maria was received so enthusiastically by audience members as well as saxophonists that I was inspired to do more transcriptions. My colleagues in the Amherst Saxophone Quartet were particularly supportive, and voila, this CD was born.
We included Harry Fackelman's transcription of Josquin's moving lament Absalon, fili mi made some years earlier, and I chose several more motets and all five movements of the Missa pange lingua to complete the program. As Professor Karp declared, why not, indeed!
The "ideal" 16th century sound was created by four or more equal voices of similar character singing in homogeneous timbre. Thus the saxophone quartet is exceptionally well-suited to perform this music. The rise in importance of instrumental music in the 16th century illustrates the desire to create musical forms complete within themselves, not relying on words to carry deeper meaning.
The most important musical figure of his time, he summarized the complishments of the preceding generations of Dufay and Ockeghem, just as Beethoven summarized the accomplishments of the first Viennese school. Though he lived mostly during the 15th century, Josquin Desprez's life spanned the Middle Ages and the modern world, and he is identified with the polyphony of the 16th century.
The motet was the most important form of early polyphonic music, and with Josquin in the 16th century, the motet became a main vehicle of expression for composers.
Each and every one of the motets featured on this recording is truly a masterwork of Renaissance counterpoint. Missa Pange lingua is a paraphrase mass based on Pange lingua, a hymn of praise to Jesus Christ. It is a late work, possibly Josquin's last mass setting, and was not published until , nearly 20 years after the composer's death.
His works include 18 masses, motets, 70 chansons, and many other secular works. Susan Fancher. It was given in honor of N. Loring Danforth by the Danforth family. Simply irresistible Here are some suggestions for classical CDs that will have an irresistible appeal to the various appetites of the music aficionados on your gift list.
The combination of the ASQ's creamy satin sonority and impeccable balance with Desprez's unerringly engrossing voice leading, ear-riveting counterpoint and blissful harmonies make this CD an absolutely mesmerizing listening experience.
For sheer sonic beauty, it's pretty close to nirvana. Can vocal music, written in the 15th century be successfully played on an instrument invented in the 19th century by a group of musicians at the beginning of the 21st century? The answer is, most emphatically, "yes," when that music is performed by the Amherst Saxophone Quartet.
The performance featured a generous selection of numbers from the CD, almost all of which were beautifully transcribed for saxophone quartet by the ASQ's soprano player Susan Fancher.
The ASQ nicely captured the tempered sadness of the melancholy lament on baritone Harry Fackelman's version of the motet "Absalon fili mi. The very nature of the well-blended sound of a saxophone quartet, which occasionally proves an obstacle when a composer is looking for sound variety, proved to be a strong point in these versions of music written for a group of equal voices, with a homogenous tone color.
From the smooth, creamy lines of the opening "Domine," through the mellifluous sound that the players brought to the "Ave Maria," the selections by Desprez had a wonderfully soothing effect.
The two sections of the "Misse Pange lingua" were especially memorable, from the euphonious sounding "Gloria" to the evening's final piece, the "Sanctus," highlighted by duets for soprano and alto, and tenor and baritone. The ASQ has always demonstrated the ability to build a strong program, and this was no exception. Poulenc composed his "Suite Francaise" using dance tunes by French Renaissance master Claude Gervaise, transforming them with his unique wit and charm.
This very modern "old" music was tossed off with the ASQ's trademark clean, precise articulation, especially apparent in the breakneck speed of the "Petite Marche. Henri Pousseur's "Vue sur les Jardins Interdits" was offered as a "palate cleanser," but even this work's restless outer sections surrounded a peaceful center that demonstrated a distinct affinity with the rest of evening's program.
A delightful set of songs by John Dowland , transcribed by tenor Stephen Rosenthal, was followed by "The Harfleur Song" , by English composer Paul Harvey , where the full sound of the quick tempo dance-like piece, was played as Renaissance music with a twist.
Soprano saxophonist Susan Fancher, the latest addition to the Amherst Saxophone Quartet, has made an immediate impact. Not only has the group gotten the services of another fine musician, but her versatile arrangements are adding some new life to an already interesting ensemble.
The only standard work for saxophone quartet played by the group was a piece by Alexander Glazunov. Two snippets from 15th century master Josquin des Pres opened the program. Next up was a wonderful rendition of the Glazunov quartet with thinly disguised Russian folk themes rearing their heads in the finale. Included in this palette of sounds were over-blowing, quarter tones and, during the second movement, one part where the tenor saxophonist, Stephen Rosenthal, moved his instrument closer to a microphone and then played on the keys without blowing into the mouthpiece.
It provided an interesting percussive effect as the keys made subtly different sounds depending on their location on the body of the instrument. It features a prerecorded group on CD of seven saxophones playing music while a live quartet of saxophonists plays against and with the recording.
It is, essentially, another one of those experiments with tape loops and real-time music that has been a feature of much later 20th-century music but updated with a digital twist.
We have little knowledge of his early life, but it is known that in he was a singer at the Cathedral in Milan. In , Josquin left the service of the duke and entered the service of the Sforza family, the governing family of Milan.
As evidence of their rulership, they employed many artists, including singers, instrumentalists, sculptors, and painters. The Sforza family was, for example, one of Leonardo da Vinci's patrons. Just as Beethoven summarized the accomplishments of the Viennese school, Josquin summarized the accomplishments of the preceding generations of Dufay and Ockeghem. He is on the border between the Middle Ages and the modern world. His works include 18 masses, motets, 70 chansons, and other secular works.
Amherst Saxophone Quartet. Year of Composition:. Arranger: Susan Fancher. Recordings Renaissance Masterworks of Josquin Desprez. Susan Fancher, soprano. Year of Recording: Liner Notes: Sixteenth century master composer Josquin Desprez wrote some of the most strikingly glorious music I've ever encountered. Sunday, December 16, By: various. Some of the best music is released at the end of the year. Here, The News critics give us their top picks. Works reviewed: Salve Regina, Josquin Desprez.
Monday, December 3, Westminster Church: Amherst Saxophone Quartet. By: Jan Jezioro. Works reviewed: Domine, exaudi orationem meam, Josquin Desprez. Click on this photo to enlarge the review. Buffalo News Buffalo, NY. Sunday, February 28, Quartet's newest member contributing quickly.
By: Garaud MacTaggart. Works reviewed: Ave Maria, Josquin Desprez. Composer Biography Desprez, Josquin. Navigation RSS feeds.
Ave Maria (Josquin Desprez)
You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly. Sixteenth century master composer Josquin Desprez wrote some of the most strikingly glorious music I've ever encountered. I first heard Josquin's masterpiece Ave Maria in , and I simply had to play it! Couldn't a quartet of saxophones replace the four original voices? When I ran the idea by Northwestern University's renowned medieval and renaissance music scholar Theodore Karp, he replied, "Why not?!
Ave Maria ... Virgo serena
Virgo serena " is a motet composed by Josquin des Prez. It is regarded as Josquin's most famous motet and one of the most famous pieces of the 15th century. The piece rose to extreme popularity in the 16th century, even appearing at the head of the first volume of motets ever printed. Its revolutionary open style featuring early imitative counterpoint and two-voice parts has added to its acclaim as one of the most influential compositions of its time.
Ave Maria…virgo serena (Josquin Desprez)