In the late 15th century the newly built Sistine Chapel was home to a vigorous culture of musical composition and performance. Josquin des Prez stood at its center, singing and composing for the pope's private choir. Josquin's Rome offers a new reading of the composer's work in light of the repertory he and his fellow papal singers performed from the chapel's singers' box. Comprising the single largest surviving corpus of late 15th-century sacred music, these pieces served as a backdrop for elaborately choreographed liturgical ceremonies-a sonic analogue to the frescoes by Botticelli, Perugino, and their contemporaries that adorn the chapel's walls. Author Jesse Rodin uses a comparative approach to uncover this aesthetically and intellectually rich musical tradition. Confronting longstanding problems concerning the authenticity and chronology of Josquin's music while also offering nuanced readings of understudied works by his contemporaries, the book contextualizes Josquin by locating intersections between his music and the wider soundscape of the Cappella Sistina.
Central to Rodin's argument is the idea that these pieces lived in performance, and the author demonstrates the interpretations of the music prevalent at the time in which it was composed through a series of exquisitely produced recordings on the companion website. Josquin's Rome is an essential resource for Musicologists, scholars of the Italian Renaissance, and enthusiasts of early music in general.