Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Macey, Patrick. "Josquin as Classic: Qui habitat, Memor esto, and Two Imitations Unmasked." Journal of the Royal Musical Association 118 (1993): 1-43.

Two psalm motets attributed to Josquin, Levavi oculos meos in montes (c.1539) and Nunc dimittis (c.1530) are probably the work of lesser composers. Research into the authenticity of these works entails a careful examination of sources and musical style. Levavi oculos occurs only in the second volume of psalm motets of Johannes Petreius (1539), an unreliable source. Nunc dimittis is preserved in only two Italian manuscripts (1522 and c.1530). Levavi oculos and Nunc dimittis were probably modeled on the structure of Josquin's motets Qui habitat in audiutorio altissimi (c.1530) and Memor esto verbi tui (c.1510), respectively. Especially similar are the dimensions of the opening and closing sections of each pair of motets. Although the unknown composers incorporated Josquin's subjects, they failed to capture the interesting contours and initial rhythmic thrusts of those subjects. In addition, the passages not modeled on Josquin's motets are often contrapuntally awkward and the text-setting by the unknown composers is inferior to that of Josquin. Like Cicero, Josquin was a model of perfection, especially in Germany in the 1530s and 1540s. Josquin's music was particularly important in the early sixteenth century because, unlike the situation in literature, no music had survived from antiquity to serve as a model for Renaissance composers. The term imitatio serves a useful function as long as one qualifies the type of imitatio as being student emulation, as in the motets Levavi oculos and Nunc dimittis, or homage of a certain kind.

Works: Anonymous: Levavi oculos; Nunc dimittis.

Index Classifications: 1500s

Contributed by: Daniel Bertram

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