More than any other Renaissance composer, Josquin Desprez’s music has been extensively performed, recorded and studied. Although his numerous masses and motets are now more than 500 years old, they have taken a place in our contemporary musical museum of masterpieces. Through superlative craftsmanship and sublime beauty, this music transcends its time and place and its original function as sacred music.
The beautiful Missa Ave maris stella is an early work by the composer that is generally hailed as one of the masterpieces of the Franco-Flemish polyphonic repertoire. Desprez composed this mass during his years as a chorister at the Cappella Sistina in Rome (early 1490s). The mass is completed with Mariamotets by Josquin as well as the Gregorian chants that together form the liturgy of the Annunciation.