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Jacob Obrecht

(c. 1451—1505)


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(b Bergen‐op‐Zoom, c.1451; d Ferrara, 1505).

Flemish composer. Kapellmeister, Utrecht, c. 1476–8; worked in Cambrai 1484–5. Was in Ferrara 1487–8. Choirmaster, Bruges 1490–1. Wrote much church mus., incl. masses, motets, etc., and secular songs. Forerunner of Josquin Desprès. Used secular cantus firmus in his masses, e.g. Missa super Maria Zart. Used number symbolism in his works, cabalistic significance having been discovered in many of his structures, e.g. the number of tactus in his Missa ‘Sub tuum praesidium’ is 888, the symbol of Christ. Some of his works are deliberately imitative of other composers. The ‘boundless exuberance’, as one scholar has put it, of his music ranks it with the greatest of its time.

Subjects: Music.


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