Josquin: Chansons

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

I've been wanting a new program of this sort for a long time, so making this change/addition was a very easy choice.

I enjoy the approach Musica Nova has taken to the interpretations, particularly their emphasis on bringing out the poetic style. This fits nicely with their experience with medieval polyphony, choosing good ficta, etc. Actually, they do not 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 publication, the 5- & 6-part songs, and even to add homage tracks by other composers, together with the several tracks of later organ music, seems a bit curious for a group that has 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 suggests that perhaps some others could follow.

This music & interpretation do highlight some of the most modern aspects of Josquin's oeuvre, including the poetic word painting 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 pleasing.

To renaissance secular list

Todd M. McComb