Jacob Obrecht

Dutch Born 22 Nov 1450 Died 00 1505

The son of a trumpeter, Jacob Obrecht was born in Bergen-op-Zoom, entering the University of Louvain in 1470. Returning to his home town, he was ordained as a priest, saying his first mass in 1480. He travelled to Cambrai and Bruges before the Duke of Ferrara requested he join his court. After a spell in Italy he returned to Bruges in 1488, then became music director at Antwerp in 1491. Returning home to Bergen-op-Zoom in 1496, he split his time between Bruges and Antwerp before being re-engaged by Ferrara in 1504; he stayed there until his death a year later from the pestilence.

As one might expect from a priest, Obrecht’s music is mainly ecclesiatic. Within his lifetime a collection of his masses had been published by Petrucci; he wrote 24 in total, and in addition composed many motets and chansons, and the first setting of the Passion according to St Matthew. Previously unknown works of Obrecht’s continue to come to light.

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