Josquin Des Prez

c.1440-1521. Musical composer. Born in what is now southern Belgium in the twilight of the Middle Ages, Josquin lived to exemplify in his own works almost every aspect of the fully developed musical style of the Renaissance. He served the Sforzas in Milan, worked at Ferrara at two periods of his life, sang for a time in the papal choir, graced the court of Louis XII, and returned a revered artist to end his days at Condé near his birthplace. He was greatly admired by Luther, who mentions him several times. His works were known and performed from Seville to Warsaw. His greatest music is in his motets, of which almost one hundred are preserved, as well as twenty Masses. In his music, the customary four-part texture of soprano, alto, tenor, and bass becomes standard. He also used consistently the imitative contrapuntal texture that became the norm in choral music throughout the sixteenth century and beyond. His music continued to be admired long after his time, and an Italian writer in 1567 places him on an artistic plane with Michelangelo.


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