“... Ac Tibiis Imparibus Accomodata”

 
 

“… and suitable for performance on recorders” (Gombert, 1539)
Flemish Polyphony from Obrecht to Lassus

The enlightened new perspectives and ideas offered by the early renaissance meant that in the music world, instrumental music began to play a larger role, even though up until the 17th century this was in almost every aspect dependant on vocal music. The development of homogeneous families, or consorts of instruments that in the case of the recorder consort, had actually started in the 15th century, reached its zenith around 1500 with the development of the viol consort. These new instruments became popular not only amongst professional musicians but also amongst amateurs and the recorder seems to have been especially appreciated amongst this group for its apparent ability to imitate the human voice.

The development of music printing also made music available to groups of musicians who up until that point had been dependant on the availability of manuscripts. Around 1530, collections of chansons, motets and other vocal genres began to appear with indications on their front pages that the contents could be played on instruments. In many cases an analysis of the music leads to the conclusion that viols and recorders were intended, the two most popular instruments of the period.

All the works in this programme come from sources that explicitly suggest performance on instruments and a selection has been made that bears witness to the continued dominance of Flemish composers in Germany and Italy during the first half of the sixteenth century. These include 4, 5 and 6 part chansons, motets, ricercares madrigals and dances by composers such as: Josquin des Prez, Pierre de La Rue, Jacob Obrecht, Nicolas Gombert, Jacquet de Berchem, Thomas Crecquillon, Adrian Willaert, Cipriano de Rore, Jan Nasco and Orlandus Lassus.

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