The “Roman period” of Josquin des Prez resulted in a small but impressive body of work, and the Missa La sol fa re mi has been received as one of the most substantial and finest members of this corpus. Closer inspection of the transmission of this mass, however, suggests that despite its copying at the Sistine Chapel before 1500, there is reason to situate it instead among the problematic and derivative copies of Josquin’s music made at the papal chapel after his departure. I argue that rather than originating from the composer’s tenure in Rome, the Missa La sol fa re mi entered the papal chapel repertoire as part of an influx of music by composers associated with the French royal court surrounding the Italian campaign of King Charles VIII in 1494–95. Decoupling the Missa La sol fa re mi from Josquin’s tenure at the papal chapel raises new possibilities surrounding his works-chronology, biography, and milieu.
Rome after Josquin: The Missa La sol fa re mi Reconsidered
Brett Kostrzewski is a PhD candidate at Boston University, currently writing his dissertation on Josquin des Prez and the early modern motet under the advisement of Joshua Rifkin. He is the co-founder of Sourcework, a vocal chamber ensemble that performs polyphony from original sources.
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Brett Kostrzewski; Rome after Josquin: The Missa La sol fa re mi Reconsidered. Journal of Musicology 1 January 2021; 38 (1): 67–108. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jm.2021.38.1.67
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