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Josquin Desprez
c.1440 - 1521
The Netherlands / Belgium
Picture
J. Desprez
Josquin Desprez -also: Josquin des Pres and Josquin Despres- (c.1440 - 27/08/1521), a Flemish composer (from Condé-sur-Escaut), who wrote masses, motets, songs, etc.
Source:Grove’s dictionary of music and musicians
Requiem aeternam
Period:Early Renaissance
Musical form:motet
Text/libretto:Latin
A six-part motet.
Requiem, 'La deploration de Johannes Ockeghem'
Period:Early Renaissance
Composed in:1497
Musical form:song
In memory of:Johannes Ockeghem
Label(s):Centaur 2548
A beautiful five-part work with its cantus firmus "Requiem aeternam" and its touching conclusion with all the voices in solemn harmony on the words 'Requiescat in pace, Amen'.
Source: Grove’s dictionary of music and musicians
Picture
J. Ockeghem
(dedicatee)
Absolve quaesumus
Period:Early Renaissance
Composed in:1506c
Musical form:motet à 6 vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin Exsequiarum Ordo Defunctorum
Duration:6'32''
In memory of:Philip the Fair
Label(s):Eufoda 1167
KTC 1214
BMG/Conifer 51353
RCA Red Seal 61814
The “Absolve quaesumus” - see Liber Usualis page 1766 – is in this case the “oratio” standard prayer prayed at the end of the ceremony Ad elationem cadaveris out of the Exsequiarum Ordo which is the starting part of the Officium Defuntorum. Josquin starts with the plainchant Requiem aeternam (not in the original score), followed by the Absolve quaesumus for six voices ( SAATBB) and ends in polyphony (SAATBB) with Requiescant in pace, Amen as we always pray at the end of a ceremony of the Dead. Josquin uses interesting imitative polyphony. The Altus II is singing in long paraphrased notes the plainchant “Requiem aeternam Dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis”. But which person is dedicatee in this Requiem? Probable three possibilities: Philip the Fair (1468-1506), Jacob Obrecht (1450-1505) or Josquin itself?
In the six-part work probably the name of Jacob Obrecht has processed in the disguise of a number. The end-phrase (From bar 92) of these composition counts 98 notes. And we also get that number as we add up the rank numbers of all characters in Obrecht’s Christian name and surname. So the opinion of Slef van Leunen, and Edward Wickham, conductors. On the other hand this work could be, and that’s more relevant, dedicated to Philip the Fair who died in September 1506 : See the Latin text: “Absolve., quaesumus, Domine, animam famuli tui Philippi …….. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine”,: We pray you, Lord, to free the soul of your servant Philip……..Grant him eternal rest, o Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
I think and suppose this last opinion fits better. Because Josquin lets pray for a certain person called Philippi, Philip, Philip the Fair? Most reasonable Philip the Fair who died in September 1506. On the other hand if it is proved this work has been composed before 1506 it could possible strengthen to conclude Jacob Obrecht can be the dedicatee. I am not sure. But then remains the question why did Josquin Philippi mention in his prayer? And who is this mentioned Philippi? It is the same puzzling as in the Da Vinci code!? The dedicatee is at least challenged. This work is found among others in Toledo, Catedral, Biblioteca Capitolar, Libros de facistol, Ms 21 and in Rome Sancta Maria Maggiore, Arch. Liber Cod. 26.
Author:Wim Goossens
Text:
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei.
Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine.
Absolve, quaesumus, Domine, Animam famuli tui Philippi, ab omni vinculo delictorum
Ut in resurrectionis gloria, inter sanctos et electos tuos resuscitatus respiret.
Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen
Requiescant in pace. Amen.

Translation:
Grant him eternal rest, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
We pray you, Lord, to free the soul of your servant Philip, from the bond of all sins.
That in the glory of the resurrection he may breath again, among your Saints and chosen ones.
Through Christ our Lord.
May they rest in peace. Amen.
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Picture
Philip the Fair
(dedicatee)
De Profundis clamavi a5
Period:Early Renaissance
Composed in:1515
Musical form:Motet à 5 vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin from de Officium Defunctorum
Duration:5'52
Label(s):CPO
Arch 457586-2
This De Profundis is a motet and a psalm from the de Officium Defunctorum composed for five voices (ATTTB) by Josquin des Préz. Normally De Profundis is the text of Psalm 129 in the Roman Rites. Besides on three places in the Liber Usualis (edition 1936) this text is used in de Officium Defunctorum/ Office of the Dead. First in the Exsequarium ordo, Burial service bearing the corpse to the church, page 1763, second in Ad Vesperas, Vespers page 1774 and third in Ad Laudes, the Lauds page 1805.
It is without any doubt Josquin composed this variation for the Office of the Dead because he used at the end the words Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.. The choice of texts in the Roman rites and the order in which they occur in sources all around Europe vary in that time according to local uses! The more often in the Spanish region this text is used in the Office of the Dead by Pedro de Cristo (c.1550-1618) and Sebastián de Vivanco (c.1550-1622). Even Pierre de Manchicourt (c.1510-1562) and Leonard Lechner (1553-1606) used the same text in a way there Spanish colleagues did. Of course a lot of composers in that time composed on the psalm De profundis: I mention Mouton (1558), Clement (1559), Ducis (1542), Josquin (1520, 1521, 1539), Willaert (1550), Lassus (1559), but nearly all of them used the Gloria Patri et filio. Thus that compositions were – principally spoken - not used in the Office of the Dead. This motet is set by Josquin for the funeral of his former patron Louis XII Roi de France (1462-1515) and that’s a general accepted meaning. In the literature are other dedicatee mentioned. This beautiful motet is set – in low texture - by Josquin with three voices locked up in a canon (A, CT1, T3) throughout the whole piece, with the other two voices (CT2, B) in a free setting. The lowest note is great E in measure 115. Normally a canon construction is a musical straightforward piece. But not in this setting by Josquin. Interesting to see and hear in this motet the 4th voice (T3) which is set and octave below the first voice the Superior (A). The result is all the voices together creates harmonic intervals in a vertically way! It’s amazing that this music-piece by Josquin is transcendent and very flexible in rhythm and pacing even in an imitative way. This motet is indeed a testimonial of great craftsmanship of a most significantly member of the third generation of South-Netherlandish Renaissance composers. Superius starts followed by Bass, CTenor 2, Tenor 3 and CTenor 1. Josquin uses some delicate flats in some measures (43-48). In aeternam Josquin uses flats eb and bb (Ms95-99) to underline a part of the word aeternam even with a triplet in the CT2 (Ms 97). See too the two triplets in measure16 (Bass) underlining intendentes / attend and some further in measure 62 (Bass)!
As from measure 75 another important text (Quia apud Dominum Misericordia) is musically splendid highlighted by Josquin with a 3-time in Superior, Tenor 3 and CT 1 and a ₵-time in CT 2 and hear more of same contrasts in (Ms 75-84). Josquin as usual uses the musical figure syncope in this motet. The sphere breaths a peaceful and serene feeling. The motet De Profundis contains 117 measures. As mentioned above this De Profundis ends with a stilled Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis and is set in E-Phrygian. The motet is published in Motetti Libro secondo, Venezia ,Andrea Antico , MDXXI.
Author:Wim Goossens
Text De Profundis
De Profundis Clamavi ad Te, Domine; Domine exaudi vocem meam.
Fiant aures tuae intendentes in vocem depractionis meae.
Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine; Domine quis sustenebit?
Quia apud Te propitiatio est; et propter legem tuam sustinui Te Domine.
Sustinuit anima mea in verbo ejus; speravit anima mea in Domino.
A custodio matutina usque ad noctem, speret Israel in Domino;
Quia apud Dominum misericordia et copiosa apud eum redemptio.
Et ipse redimet Israel ex omnibus iniquitatibus ejus.
Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison. Pater noster.

Translation:
Out of the depths I have cried to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears attend to the voice of my calling.
If you, Lord, shall mark our iniquities; Lord who shall abide it?
For there is a mercy with you; and by reason of your law I have waited for you Lord.
My soul has relied on His word; my soul has hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord;
for with the Lord there is mercy and with him copious redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord
And let perpetual light shine upon them.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Our Lord, have mercy on us. Our Father.
Contributor:Wim Goossens