Dr. Rebecca Stewart is a singer and (ethno)musicologist who specializes in the vocal traditions of early Europe. For different periods preceding her retirement she was head of two no longer existing early music departments in conservatoria in The Netherlands. After many years as the ‘maestro di cappella’ of her ensemble, Cappella Pratensis, she has continued until the present day to work with ensembles and projects under the umbrella name of Cantus Modalis.
The most recent project is Josquin Desprez – In memoria mea. In collaboration with the ensemble Seconda Prat!ca, Cantus Modalis has recorded a CD commemorating the quincentenary of the death of Josquin Desprez in 1521. The centerpiece of the CD is Josquin’s most controversial mass, Missa Mater patris, which he based on the lauda motet of the same name by his recently deceased colleague Antoine Brumel. In preparation for the recording of the CD, four members of the two ensembles spent months singing and analyzing both compositions in an – at least for us – successful effort to prove Josquin’s authorship, and to learn how to transfer the passionately expressed supplications of Brumel’s lauda motet into the medium of Josquin’s unique mass.