Josquin in Rome
music for the anunciation from the Cappella Sistina
by Cappella Pratensis
Thursday July 29th, 2021, 9 pm – Church of Valloire
In 2021, the world will commemorate the death of the French-Flemish composer Josquin Desprez, 500 years ago. he is generally regarded as the greatest composer of the Renaissance.
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.
Stratton Bull, artistic director
The vocal ensemble Cappella Pratensis is a leader in the performance of polyphonic masterpieces from the 15th and 16th centuries, with a particular focus on the Low Countries. The group goes straight to the source, performing from fascimiles of original partbooks or choirbooks, the latter placed on a central music stand or projected on a large screen. Its programmes are intensively prepared and based on thorough musicological research, often in collaboration with leading scholars. This multi-faceted approach results in a deep engagement with the music, in performances that get to the heart of this extraordinary repertoire. Cappella Pratensis also appears in surprising new contexts, regularly collaborating with dance companies, jazz artists, theatre makers, and composers.
In addition to regular appearances at concert venues in the Netherlands and Belgium, Cappella Pratensis performs at leading international festivals and concert series throughout Europe, North America and Japan. The group has been ensemble-in-residence at Harvard University, the Fondation Royaumont (France), and Boston University, giving courses, presenting concerts and working with distinguished musicians. Its CD recordings have met with critical acclaim and distinctions from the press (including the Diapason d’Or and the Prix Choc). Gramophone magazine recognised the ensemble’s recording of the Ockeghem Requiem as the best out of more than 20 recordings made over the last 40 years.
Cappella Pratensis makes a priority of passing on its knowledge to both professionals and amateurs through masterclasses, workshops, multimedia presentations, and an annual summer course. In addition, it trains young singers within the ensemble itself.
Concert in tribute to Josquin Desprez with plainchant pieces.
Stratton Bull, superius
Andrew Hallock, superius
Lior Leibovici, altus
Peter de Laurentiis, tenor
Marc Busnel, bassus
Cappella Pratensis enjoys a formal partnership with the Alamire Foundation, International Centre for the Study of Music in the Low Countries (University of Leuven).