Cancion del Emperador, 'Mille Regres' de Josquin
de Narvaez, Luys
This work is a superb example of the intabulation, or reduction from vocal score, of a well-know work by the Flemish immigrant to Italy, and perhaps the greatest composer of his day, Josquin Des Pres, simply known as Josquin. One of the other works in Narvàez’ book is an intabulation of the ‘Hercules Mass’, a larger vocal work also by Josquin. The ‘Cancion’ was a favourite of Emperor Charles V, alluded to in the title, and its mournful sighing figures and repeated chords clearly reflect its vocal origins. Narvàez’ mastery is evident not by his virtuosity, as it is seen in the other two selections from this composer, but in its restraint. The delicate elaboration of the inner voices which animates the rhythm is enough to propel the melody forward, but it never reduces it to mere ornament. The striking opening in fantasia style shows how freely the composer has treated the material, a feeling of liberty which returns at the end.
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