Josquin: Chansons à 5 & 6

Se congie prens
Chansons à cinq et six parties de Josquin Desprez
Ensemble Musica Nova - Lucien Kandel
Raum Klang 3201

I continue to appreciate the approach that Musica Nova has taken to the interpretations here, particularly their emphasis on bringing out the poetic style. This fits nicely with their experience with medieval polyphony, choosing good ficta, etc. Actually, they don't discuss the latter factor, and I wonder if they're taking it straight from the posthumous publication they're using.

The choice to focus on a late (posthumous) publication, the 5- & 6-part songs from Susato, and even to include the homage tracks by other composers, together with the several tracks of later organ music, seems a bit curious for a group that's mostly recorded earlier music.... This seems like an approach more suited to a group whose focus is 16th century secular songs generally. It does make for a very concrete choice for a program, however. (And now, more or less reprised by Graindelavoix, but with a very different approach. So I do still find independent aspects to appreciate here....)

This music & interpretation highlight some of the most modern aspects of Josquin's oeuvre, then, including the poetic word painting (& instrumental pieces based on "points of imitation") and other aspects of secular style that really do point toward the 16th century. In that sense, it's a contrast with some of what I enjoy most about c.1500 chansons, but this mix of old & new is ultimately rather enjoyable.

To renaissance secular list

Todd M. McComb
Updated: 23 September 2021