Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Reynolds, Christopher. "Interpreting and Dating Josquin's Missa Hercules dux ferrariae." In Early Musical Borrowing, ed. Honey Meconi, 91-110. New York: Routledge, 2004.

A new interpretation and dating of Josquin's Missa Hercules dux ferrariae is possible based on evidence that in composing the famous hexachordal motive for the mass, Josquin alluded to the works of other composers. Allusion is a form of play that provided fifteenth-century composers an opportunity to show their wit and learning and to imbue their compositions with symbolic meaning as Josquin did in Missa Faisant regrets. Though Josquin constructed the motto from the vowels of Duke Ercole's name, he could have adapted the motto from a phrase in Walter Frye's Missa Nobilis et pulchra and the opening phrase from an anonymous Marian composition Salve regis mater (possibly by Marbriano de Orto). Josquin's motive alludes to the contratenor part of Frye's mass, a phrase that appears only once in Frye's entire work on the words "ex Maria virgine." The motivic resemblances between Josquin's Missa Hercules, the anonymous Salve regis mater, and Frye's Missa Nobilis infuse Missa Hercules with Marian symbolism, resonating with Ercole's religious devotion to the Virgin Mary. Josquin's allusions to these masses and his modeling both on Antoine Brumel's hexachordal Missa Ut re mi fa sol la and Agricola's song-motet Si dedero additionally suggest a later dating of 1503 for the mass. The connections between Missa Hercules and the above pieces thus illuminate the Marian associations of the work and support an early sixteenth-century dating.

Works: Josquin: Missa Hercules dux ferrariae (91-110), Missa faisants regrets (94-97).

Sources: Walter Frye: Missa Nobilis et pulchra (93, 97-101), Tout a par moy (94, 102-3); Anonymous/De Orto?: Salve regis mater (93, 99); Antoine Brumel: Missa Ut re mi fa sol la (105-6); Agricola: Si dedero (106-7).

Index Classifications: 1400s, 1500s

Contributed by: Mary Ellen Ryan

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