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Larry Kart

Dufay and Josquin Des Prez

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Interesting post I ran across on Amazon some time ago, and again today, about the differences between Dufay and Josquin Des Prez. Potentially of broad application, I think. The poster, who uses the pseudonym Giordano Bruno, is a performer of Renaissance and Baroque music, plays the recorder I believe:

'The history of music also suffers from a discourse of 'development'. Perceptive listeners can still be trapped in the notion that the imitative counterpoint of Josquin is more 'advanced' than the seldom-imitative polytextual polyphony of Dufay. Quatsch! Nobody has ever written more 'advanced' music than Dufay... not Josquin, not Bach, not Beethoven, not Wagner, not even Brian Wilson. You have only your two ears, you know, through which all the ambient sound funnels to your brain, and 'what you hear is what you hear.'

'Music in Europe did CHANGE rather dramatically in the short span of time between Guillaume Dufay (1400-1474) and Josquin Desprez (1455-1521). The most easily quantifiable change was the shift in 'prolations', from preponderantly "perfect" (triple) tempi to "imperfect" (duple) tempi. You can hear that change by comparing any performance you have of Dufay to any of Josquin's disciples like Mouton or Willaert. That change was symptomatic of a change in the most basic mode of "hearing" music, which I can describe as a change from Time to Space. The aesthetic core of Dufay's music is the passage of Time; one hears it 'horizontally' - in the flow of Time captured as immediate sensual perceptions. The consummate craft of Dufay's music is its rhythmic inventiveness. By comparison, Josquin's music is 'all about' melody, which is a sort of derived experience based on Memory. No memory, no melody! Thus Josquin's music is less about Time and more about Space, or Spaces ... music conceived architecturally and heard as much vertically as horizontally.'

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Probably time (for me) to dust off these platters .... :

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Just listened to the first of those above. Beautiful -- and it kind of rearranged my brain for the better.

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7 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

Just listened to the first of those above. Beautiful -- and it kind of rearranged my brain for the better.

Both are excellent recordings .... each listening reveals previously unheard subtleties ....

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isorhythmic motets from the sometimes 'controversial' paul van nevel / huelgas ensmeble

the sorrows of young jay gould & ulysses grant

you're goddamn right i sing the blues

 

Edited by MomsMobley

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13 hours ago, MomsMobley said:

isorhythmic motets from the sometimes 'controversial' paul van nevel / huelgas ensmeble

 

 

Outright beautiful - and Paul Van Nevel + Huelgas Ensemble are always welcome at my house ....

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That Huelgas Ensemble Dufay is sublime, really beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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Can anyone recommend a good history of this period of music? Who's the Renaissance / Baroque equivalent of Charles Rosen, say?  I'm more interested in musical analysis than biography, although a bit of that is fine too!

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