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Jean Richafort
1480 - 1547
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J. Richafort
Jean Richafort (1480 - 1547), a Franco-Flemish composer, born in Ricartsvoorde (Henegouwen), died in Bruges, Belgium. He was a pupil of Josquin.
Author:Theo Willemze
Jean Richafort was probably born in about 1480 in de neighbourhood of Hainaut in a small village called ”Ricartsvoorde” in the Low Countries from where he relates his name. ( It is supposed Ryfvart near St. Omaars). He belongs to the third generation of Flemish/Netherlands composers. Nothing is known about his early live and musical education. According to the poet Pierre de Ronsard he studied with Josquin des Prez (c.1440 -1521), although there is at this moment no evidence for it, but nevertheless he adored Josquin in following his style.
From 1507 up to 1509 Richafort was Maître de Chapelle, choir-master, at St. Rombaud cathedral in Malines (Mechelen) where two of his brothers François and Guillaume were among the cantors there. He was succeeded there by Noël Bauldwyn (c.1480 – c. 1525). From 1510, Jean Richafort was engaged at the court of Louis XII. After the death of this one, Richafort will work at the court of François I. In 1516, at the time of a journey to Italy with the Royal Chapel and a meeting in Bologna between the papal court and the Royal chapel Pope Leon X, strongly impressed by the compositions of Jean Richafort, gifted him with a special rent. Perhaps in the twenties and thirties he served French Kings due to a large number of French publications?
For a while from 1531 he served in Brussels Queen Mary of Hungary, Regent of the Netherlands/Low Countries. From 1542 to 1547 Richafort was Maître de chapelle, Choir-Master at St. Gilles in Bruges. He died after 1547 uncertain when in Bruges. In 1556, the famous Parisian printers Le Roy et Ballard published, on a posthumous basis a volume of nineteen motets, an anthology on the art of Jean Richafort titled “Joannis Richafort modulorum quartuor, quinque and sex vocum, liber primus”.
Richafort wrote Masses, one Requiem dedicated to Josquin, Magnificat-settings, Motets (35) and Chansons (20). About eighteen composers at least, whose Divitis, lupus, Ruffo, Mouton, Morales and even Palestrina took as a starting point the motet “Quem dicunt hominess” by Jean Richafort to compose their "parody-Mass", which was not unusual practice in that days, but acknowledged that Richafort was highly esteemed by his colleagues! In seven anthologies appearing between 1519 and 1583 were compositions by Richafort published.
Author:Wim Goossens
Period:Early Renaissance
Composed in:1532
Musical form:mass
Text/libretto:Latin mass
In memory of:Josquin Desprez
Label(s):Harmonia Mundi Franc 901730
Harmonia Mundi 1951730
Hyperion Records CDA67959
This Requiem in memoriam Josquin Desprez, (c.1440 - 27/08/1521), a Flemish composer. This Requiem is written for six voices SAATTB. It contains:
01. Introitus: Requiem aeternam
02. Kyrie
03. Graduale: Si ambulem
04. Offertorium: Domine Jesu Christe
05. Sanctus
06. Agnus Dei
07. Communio: Lux aeterna

♫ 01. Introitus: Requiem aeternam
© Hyperion Records CDA67959

♫ 02. Kyrie
© Hyperion Records CDA67959

♫ 03. Graduale: Si ambulem
© Hyperion Records CDA67959

♫ 04. Offertorium: Domine Jesu Christe
© Hyperion Records CDA67959

♫ 05. Sanctus
© Hyperion Records CDA67959

♫ 06. Agnus Dei
© Hyperion Records CDA67959

♫ 07. Communio: Lux aeterna
© Hyperion Records CDA67959
Like all other polyphonic Requiems, this Requiem is based upon plainchant out of the Missae pro defunctis. On the other hand you should say and one can prove this Requiem is an homage to Josquin (c1440-1521). See all the quotations done by Richafort out of works by Josquin. First of all Richafort in this Requiem quotes out of ”Nimphes, napées” and Josquin’s arrangement in 2 canons from the Respond ”Circumdederunt” and on the other hand out of his motet ”Faulte d’argent” the phrase ”C’est douleur non pareille.”
Of course Richafort uses in the Introit the well-known plainchant requiem aeternam, but on the other hand Richafort quotes in general in certain voices parts out of Josquin’s Nimphes, nappés, see the bars 53 up to 72. In the Kyrie you can follow the quotation of ”Circumdederunt” already done in a way Josquin did, for instance in bars 64 up to 80. In the Gradual Richafort quotes Josquin’s ”Cést douleur, non pareille”, see bars 43 up to 58. In the Offertory the double canon of Circumdederunt and parts of ”C’est douleur, non pareille” (bars 51-63) have been used by Richafort. The plainchant is here sung by the upper voice. In Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei and Communion, Richafort uses in variation the respond ”circumdederunt” in using this respond in the Communion (g-minor) only the notes belonging to ” Circumdederunt me” in a way Richafort already ended before in the Agnus Dei but in that case in a-minor (bars 54-55). This excellent Requiem composition of Richafort is interesting because of Richafort is as stated before ”juggling” with two Josquin elements and a plainchant simultaneously: 1.) The plainchant, 2.) a contrasting cantus firmus ”Circumdederunt me” or ”C’est douleur non pareille”, and 3.) a dialogue in fuga. Josquin did it already before in other works. Nevertheless Richafort did an excellent job in combining those three elements mentioned in an elegant way all the Requiem long.
Author:Wim Goossens
In the first two decades of the 16th century, polyphonic requiem settings became increasingly common. Early settings include those by Richafort, Antoine de Févin (also ascribed to Divitis), Engarandus Juvenis and Escobar.
Author:Steven Chang-Lin Yu
J. Desprez