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That would certainly fit with the words, which conflate the biblical laments of King David for his dead son Absalon, and Jacob’s for his son Joseph.
But, unlike many official expressions of grief, this one is piercingly real, almost as if the composer himself had been bereaved.
While the Collegium has a long history of singing the music of Josquin, it has been some time since we have devoted a concert to the music of this paragon of Renaissance polyphony.
Josquin was esteemed as one of the greatest of composers in his own time.
When the twelve voices begin singing together, a cantus firmus melody— one likely newly composed by Josquin—begins, singing the words “O Maria, flos virginum.” This melody is circular in form, the type of melody that in Josquin’s time was used by composers to depict the nimbus of saintly persons.
This tradition continues: the Collegium sang for 18 Music Humanities sections this semester.
Distance lends enchantment, as the saying goes, and distance can mean things far removed in time as well as space. Just as the mountains on a horizon blend together, so fine shades of feeling can get lost when we look back to the art of a distant period.
Nothing suffers more from this flattening effect than Renaissance church music.
Our program tonight is representative of this split between the actual and apocryphal,containing six works deemed spurious or inauthentic by the editors of The New Josquin Edition.
Some of the most cherished masterpieces of Josquin’s oeuvre, Absalon, fili mi, El grillo, and Mille regretz were perhaps not composed by Josquin at all.