Josquin in Rome: Missa Ave maris stella
If the name of Josquin Desprez today ranks among such consummate Renaissance artists as Raphael and Michelangelo, this was no less the case in his own day. Josquin was truly “a legend in his own time”, the most famous of the Franco-Flemish composers who sought fame and fortune in Italy. This fame opened the door to appointments in top ensembles in Milan and Ferrara, but surely his most towering achievement was as singer and composer at the Sistine Chapel in Rome.
In this program, Cappella Pratensis returns to its core repertoire with music composed by Josquin for the celebration of the Annunciation in the Sistine Chapel. In this evocation of the Roman liturgy, pride of place is taken by his exquisite Missa Ave maris stella. The movements of the mass are complemented by the plainchant propers, sung from a facsimile of a Roman gradual from which Josquin himself would have sung. The program is rounded out by Marian motets, including a setting of the hymn on which the mass is based, Ave maris stella, in which Josquin added new verses to an existing setting by his illustrious predecessor, Guillaume Dufay.