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Performing Josquin's music is the greatest privilege

28 October 2016

As a Renaissance specialist I have always put Josquin at the centre of my musical world. To have the opportunity to perform any of his music is the greatest privilege, but his masses represent something apart. In them he worked out – and perfected – his response to a particular compositional problem: how to set the words of the five movements of the Mass Ordinary, rather as Beethoven explored the possibilities in the traditional movements of a symphony.

Mass setting was central to all the composers of the Renaissance period, and Josquin was determined to outshine everybody. He did this by repeatedly coming back to the challenge – his masses come from every period of his career - and by restricting himself more or less entirely to four voices, to concentrate his technique. In these masses the greatest composer of his age audibly matured.

Read the full blog on the Gramophone website

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