Born in Ghent, Jacob Obrecht, occupied the greater part of his musical career in the employment of churches in his native land and, despite his great musical talent, only briefly managed to acquire a position in the Italian courts. In 1485 he was dismissed from the Cathedral at Cambrai for his inadequate care of the choirboys and for keeping poor finances (in that year the chapter accepted some of his compositions to cover the deficit of his accounts). Owing to ill health Obrecht retired in 1500 and remained largely in Bergen op Zoom. In 1504 he travelled to Ferrara, where in the following year he died of the plague. Obrecht’s musical style is both inventive and spontaneous, and his control of immense sound structures is masterful. The sumptuous six-part Salve regina
is constructed on a monumental scale and stands among the most beautiful settings of this popular prayer. The work is thought to have been composed in the 1480s and is interspersed with short sections of the traditional plainsong melody, which liturgically is designed to be sung after Compline from Advent to Candelmas.
from notes by David Skinner © 1998