Josquin (ca.1450-1521) is considered one of the greatest composers of the Renaissance period. Josquin is known for his motets, masses, and chansons. Thanks to the invention of the printing press, Josquin’s music remained very popular long after his death. Few musicians and composers have had such influence over a musical period like Josquin.
Josquin’s chansons were lit and represent a new musical style of the Renaissance period. Mille regretz by Josquin is a prime example of this new style. Before, chansons were composed using the formes fixes, which meant using a “fixed form” like the ballade, rondeau, and virelai (History of Western Music page 127). In Mille regretz Josquin completely abandons the formes fixes. Instead Josquin uses strophic texts and simple poems to write the new style of chanson. Mille regretz is written for four voices, unlike the previous chansons which were written usually only for three. In the piece, the texture alternates between homophony and imitation in all of the voices. Voice imitation was one of Josquin’s musical characteristics and it is clearly seen in Mille regretz.
Another piece composed by Josquin was Ave Maria…virgo serena, a motet. Josquin uses text depiction and text exprce – he conveyed through music the emotions of the text (A History of Western Music page 204). Compared to Josquin’s Mille regretz there are many similarities. Both the motet and the chanson are written for four voices. There is also voice imitation in both pieces as well – again one of Josquin’s musical trademarks. Also, in both pieces all voices are essential which was another new musical idea that arose during the Renaissance.
I randomly came across Mille regretz while looking up Renaissance pieces by Josquin. I actually just realized through this assignment I like Josquin’s compositions. It was very interesting to see how his musical ideas and trademarks paved the way for music in the Renaissance as well as for future composers.
Burkholder, J. Peter, Donald Jay Grout, and Claude V. Palisca. A History of Western Music. Eighth Edition. (W.W. Norton and Company, New York, New York). 2010.
“Josquin des Pres.” Youtube video. Posted by “caoamarelo.” Uploaded May 20, 2008. Accessed on February 9, 2014. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GBwbt6hK6c&feature=kp
Des Pres, Josquin. Mille regretz. Score. IMSLP. Accessed February 9, 2014. http://sausage.whatbox.ca:15263/imglnks/usimg/5/5b/IMSLP202015-WIMA.960a-mille_regr.pdf