des PREZ, JOSQUIN (1450-1521)

Josquin des Prez ( 1450/1455 – 27 August 1521), was a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance. He was often referred to simply as Josquin. He was the most famous European composer between Guillaume Dufay and Palestrina, and is usually considered to be the central figure of the Franco-Flemish School. Josquin is widely considered by music scholars to be the first master of the high Renaissance style of polyphonic vocal music that was emerging during his lifetime.
During the 16th century, Josquin gradually acquired the reputation as the greatest composer of the age, his mastery of technique and expression universally imitated and admired. He was so admired that many anonymous compositions were attributed to him by copyists, probably to increase their sales. Over 370 works are attributed to him.
Yet in spite of Josquin's colossal reputation, which endured until the beginning of the Baroque era and was revived in the 20th century, his biography is shadowy and virtually nothing is known about his personality. The only surviving work which may be in his own hand is a graffito on the wall of the Sistine Chapel, and only one contemporary mention of his character is known, in a letter to Duke Ercole I of Ferrara. The lives of dozens of less revered Renaissance composers are better documented than that of Josquin. 
Josquin wrote both sacred and secular music, and in all of the significant vocal forms of the age, including masses, motets, chansons and frottole. During the 16th century, he was praised for both his supreme melodic gift and his use of ingenious technical devices.