Josquin des Prez Mille regretz Arranged for Cello Quartet
Arranged by Charles Jacot
Title: Mille regretz (for Cello Quartet)
Composer: Josquin des Prez
Edited By: Charles Jacot
Instrumentation: Violoncello Ensemble
Pages: 2 for the score and 1 page for each violoncello part
Josquin des Prez (c.1450-1455 to 1521) was the preeminent composer of his era. The polyphonic style of music that he helped to create during the Renaissance melded together different European styles into winding melodic lines, complex counterpoint, and homophonic texture.
Mille regretz is a 4-part French chanson. Josquin was so famous in his lifetime that many works by other composers or copyists were published in his name. Some scholars dispute the authenticity of Mille regretz. It is a brief but heartfelt piece in the Phrygian mode. In it Josquin makes use of motivic cells that become passed among the voices. The equality of the voicing is another aspect of Josquin’s writing.
Josquin’s vocal writing translates quite well to cello ensemble. The harmonies are rich and close and the range tends toward the typical cello range. I would encourage players to attempt these pieces with minimal or no vibrato, instead concentrating on the purity of sound and harmony, as well as the shaping of phrases and balancing of the interweaving lines. The translations also give the rehearsal letters for the appropriate lines.
Below is the text for Josquin's Mille regretz:
A thousand regrets at abandoning you and departing from your loving face. (A)
I have such great sorrow and painful distress (B)
that it seems my days will soon dwindle away. (C)