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Jean Richafort

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Biography

Jean Richafort (c. 1480 – c.1547) was a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance.

He was probably born in Hainault, and his native language appears to have been French. He may have studied with Josquin Desprez, though the evidence for this is circumstantial. Richafort served as choir master at St. Rombold cathedral in Mechelen between 1507 and 1509, and at St. Gilles church in Bruges between 1542 and 1547—leaving a huge gap in the record of his activity. At some time between these dates he was associated with the French royal chapel, since some of his music is for official occasions connected with Louis XII, and there is some evidence he may have been in Brussels in 1531 in the service of Queen Mary of Hungary, who was regent there.

Musically, Richafort was a representative of the first generation after Josquin, and he followed his style in many ways. In some of his music he used fragments of Josquin’s compositions as a tribute. Techniques used by Richafort include are typical of the period, such as smooth polyphony and pervasive imitation, but he was unusually attentive to the clear setting of text so the words could be understood.

He wrote a requiem for six voices (Requiem in memoriam Josquin Des Prez, 1532), masses, motets, settings of the Magnificat, two secular motets, and chansons.

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