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Possible portrait of Josquin Desprez around 1490 (Leonardo da Vinci).
The CD of the programme.

The Instrumental Music of Josquin Desprez

Raitis Grigalis - baritone

Baptiste Romain - Renaissance violin

Uri Smilansky - viola d'arco

Elizabeth Rumsey - viola d'arco

Kirsty Whatley - gothic harp

Gawain Glenton - cornetto

Marc Lewon - lute, gittern, viola d'arco; direction


Josquin Desprez (c1450-1521) was "master of the notes, which must do as he wishes; other composers must do as the notes wish", as attested by Martin Luther himself. He was not the only one to notice - the early printers, always a sure-footed indicater for what will sell well, trusted quality and with Josquin bet on the right horse: Petrucci publishes a great number of Josquin's compositions in his early prints and even dedicates a whole issue solely to him.


Josquin was not only the leading musician of his time, he also belonged to the first generation of composers to discover instrumental music as a new field of experimentation in music: his textless compositions intended for instrumental performance survive in great abundance.


Ensemble Leones takes this so far neglected repertory on board and performes the instrumental compositions of Josquin Desprez in an ideally suited instrumentation playing from the original notation. The lush sound of early gambas, violins, harp, and lute brings to life this beautiful music, interspersed with songs that underly many of the instrumental compositions.


The accompanying CD to the programme has just been published with the Christophorus label (2011). More information to the recording can be found here: Link to the CD.


sound samples:


La Spagna - Josquin Desprez (mp3, 2,5mb)

Fortuna desperata - Josquin/Spinacino/anonym (mp3, 2,7mb)

De tous bien plaine - anonym/Josquin/Plancard (mp3, 3,4mb)

Se je perdu - anonym/Josquin (mp3, 5,3mb)

Sei gelobt, Du Baum - Arvo Pärt (live-Mitschnitt, 3,3mb)