Turnhout, Brepols Publishers, 2009
ISBN 978-2-503-53065-9, 522 pages, 19 x 29 cm
Though he remains the overwhelming figure in music of the years around 1500, the life and work of Josquin Desprez now look entirely different from the time of the last major monograph on him, published in 1965. A vast body of research over the past forty years has had its impact on almost all his music; most of his main works are now available in good recordings that can make them easily familiar to any reader; and the main sources have been far more thoroughly explored.
On top of this, new biographical findings particularly within the last ten years have shown that much of what was earlier written about his life was based on documents that concerned other people entirely. For his life up to 1489 every single known document has been discovered since 1980. His birthdate has been advanced by more than ten years, with major consequences for our view not only of Josquin's music and its chronology but also of most other music of the time.
This book assembles and assesses the newly available material. It builds the main works into the narrative of Josquin's life. Appendices include a critical listing of the documents about Josquin, a summary of later literary references to him, summaries of the relevant information about the main figures mentioned in the book, a list of other musicians at the time called Josquin or something similar (35 of them!) and much else.
Ca. 530 pp and 63 musical examples.
David Fallows has taught since 1976 at the University of Manchester and was President of the International Musicological Society, 2002-7. His publications, mostly on the music of the fifteenth century, include Dufay
(1982), A Catalogue of Polyphonic Songs
, 1415-1480 (1999) and most recently an edition of the four-voice secular music of Josquin for the New Josquin Edition (2005).