The Franco-Flemish composer Josquin des Pres is often regarded as the greatest polyphonic master of the Renaissance, second only to J. S. Bach in the art of counterpoint. Tu solus qui facis mirabilia is one of the few works of Josquin that is more chordal than polyphonic, thus evoking a more hymn-like quality. The rich, lower register of the voicing creates a direct, human and profound effect. As was typical in the Renaissance, sacred and secular text and music are mingled. The second part of Tu solus qui facis mirabilia opens with a musical and poetic quotation of Ockeghem’s song, D’ung aultre amer, one of the most widely disseminated songs of the late fourteenth century. The secular poem is easily transferred to a sacred setting, and in the context of Tu solus becomes an expression of faith and devotion.
© Ryan Turner