Netwerk Tour Programme january 2010


Flemish polyphony and Italian dances from the world's first music publications

The Venetian printer Ottaviano Petrucci was the first man in history to perfect a method for printing polyphonic music, both in staff notation and in lute tablature. Between 1498 and 1509, he printed and reprinted no fewer than 39 collections, which, when combined, provide a magnificent overview of the genres and composers that were popular in the early 16th century. What is surprising – and it is also the theme of this programme – is the fact that no fewer than seven of his collections were intended to be played on instruments.

Three of these collections, including the Harmonice Musices Odhecaton from 1501 (the very first printed music in history), contain generally text-less versions, of secular vocal pieces for three and four voices, mainly chansons, clearly intended to be performed on consort instruments such as viols or recorders. The two extant volumes containing lute tablatures, by Francesco Spinacino from 1507 and Joan Ambrosio Dalza from 1508, contain arrangements of vocal works, ricercares and dances.

This combined repertoire, comprising several hundred pieces, which at the time were a huge success for the publisher, form the basis of an exceptionally interesting concert programme which features the world-renowned lutenist Paul O’Dette together with Mezzaluna.

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