Josquin: Instrumental Music

Les fantaisies de Josquin
The Instrumental Music of Josquin Desprez
Ensemble Leones - Marc Lewon
Christophorus 77348

This is perhaps a niche program, taking a look at the origin of purely instrumental pieces in the late fifteenth century, and centering on Josquin. In many cases, both whether the music was conceived specifically for instruments or is actually by Josquin is open for debate. There are also related settings by other composers, and some of the vocal works on which the music is based.

This is definitely an interesting program, not only for its very illuminating & specific look at an aspect of Josquin's secular music, but because of its accomplishments in instrumental construction & technique, as well as ensemble constitution. This is really a state-of-the-art recording in that sense, showing some very original & compelling sonorities.

Some of the sonic variety does work against this rendition as an album for continuous listening: The vocal pieces, although very well-executed, dominate e.g. the solo plucked strings in acoustic terms. However, the instrumental interpretations are quite convincing & idiomatic, forming the basis for a fascinating & distinctive contribution to the Josquin discography.

(The modern piece by Pärt does not have much in common with the rest of the program. This is where the violinist and bassist appear.)

To renaissance secular list

Todd M. McComb
Updated: 21 September 2021