Josquin Desprez

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COMPOSERS: Josquin Desprez
LABELS: Discipline Global Mobile
WORKS: 16th-century lute settings
PERFORMER: Jacob Heringman (lute)
The arrangement of vocal music for lute solo was fairly commonplace in the Renaissance, but this disc is unusual, indeed (we are told) unique, in its devotion to lute versions of the work of the greatest composer of his generation, Josquin Desprez. Ten different named composers are involved. Some, like Alonso Mudarra, Luys de Narváez and Francisco Spinacino, are well known to those vaguely familiar with the lute repertoire, others, like Simon Gintzler and Valentin Bakfark, less so. The fact that so many figures major and otherwise desired to make lute versions is itself testimony of the esteem in which Josquin was held. Jacob Heringman here professes in both word and deed a deep empathy for Josquin’s music. Extraordinarily, his achievement is that, despite the technical challenges demanded by the change of idiom and the addition of a certain amount of embellishment, the expressive, serene qualities of many of the originals, particularly the Mass movements, remain intact. The sound, moreover, is exquisite. Stephen Pettitt