Agricola was a Franco-Flemish contemporary of Josquin Des Préz who spent most of his working life in Italy. During his lifetime, he was hailed by some writers as the greatest composer in Europe.
Agricola's output consists of sacred and secular vocal music, as well as several pieces in chanson-style which survive without text. These last examples serve as evidence of a nascent instrumental genre, to which Agricola must have been a prime contributor, and include such purely instrumental effects as diminution.
While Agricola's music uses some of the same structural principles as Josquin's, including a telling ability for working out all voices concurrently, he does not use imitation to the same degree and so looks back somewhat to the previous generation of Johannes Ockeghem. Agricola's compositions are all highly polished, with a fine sense of harmony and voice-leading. ~ Todd McComb (6/94)