Hudební Věda

“To Pursue His Own Affairs Elsewhere”: Some Observations and Reflections on Josquin’s Missa L’homme armé sexti toni

article summary

Jaap van Benthem

A recent attempt to re-date the paper and watermark of folios from the so- called ‘Lviv/Lvov fragments’ transmitting parts of the Gloria and Credo of Josquin’s Missa L’homme armé sexti toni makes it feasible to suggest that copying of the Mass may already have taken place in the early 1490s. That might even suggest that the Mass was composed some years before its inclusion in those fragments, which would add Josquin’s Mass to a group of early transmissions in Central Europe of compositions by composers of his generation from the late 1470s onward. Only around the turn of the century do several isolated parts of the Mass appear in manuscripts from surrounding parts of Central Europe.

Its composer’s whereabouts between July 1485 and early 1489 are unknown, but a sixteenth-century reference to his stay as a singer at the court of the art-loving Hungarian-Bohemian King Matthias Corvinus would fit that period well. Moreover, the composition of a L’homme armé Mass would have been in perfect harmony with the political objectives of Corvinus, who had just proclaimed Vienna the capitol of the Kingdom as well as his preferred residence.

This contribution explores various structural aspects of Josquin’s transmitted setting, which, by way of numerological symbolism of the period, equally suggests references to the King as ‘L’homme armé’ of the Deity.

Keywords: Josquin; Matthias Corvinus; Missa L’homme armé sexti toni; Lviv fragments; numerological symbolism

The complete text of this article can be found in the printed edition of Hudební věda 4/2020.