Fortuna desperata

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Fortuna desperata is a secular Italian song, possibly originally by Busnois (but others credit Antoine Brumel). It was used by many other authors in the following 75 years,[clarification needed] for both variations and cantus firmus masses, and over 30 such reworkings are known. Words in the original Italian and in English and German are available at Choral Wiki [1].

The first verse is

'Fortuna desperata
Iniqua e maledecta
Che de tal dona electa
La fama hai denigrata.'

translated as

'Desperate fate,
iniquitous and maledicted
who blackened the good name
of a woman beyond compare.'

Amongst the more well-known versions of the song are the three-voice version by Busnois, its reworking for six voices by Alexander Agricola, a three-part instrumental version possibly by Josquin, and a three-voice version by Heinrich Isaac. See [2] (archive from 29 December 2014, accessed 26 February 2016) for several others.

Parody masses[edit]

Amongst the mass-settings are those by Josquin and Obrecht and Pierquin de Thérache. [1]


  1. ^ Symphonies lorraines: compositeurs, exécutants, destinataires ; Yves Ferraton - 1998 -"ette œuvre attribuée à Periquin par les copistes espagnols, Pierquin de Thérache sélectionne la partie de tenor extraite d'une chanson italienne à trois voix composée par Antoine Busnois "5 : Fortuna desperata iniqua maledicta che di tal dona electa la fama ay denegata."