Palestrina : Missa Ad coenam Agni

Stephen Rice’s Brabant Ensemble is a choir that closely resembles, at least in size, the kind of vocal group Palestrina would have been familiar with.  Generally utilizing three singers to a part Palestrina’s polyphony is put across clearly and strongly.   The documentary evidence indicates that this mass falls early in Palestrina’s career, but it is not a […]

Taking Liberties : Björn Schmelzer & Machaut’s “Messe de Nostre Dame”

The La Messe de Nostre Dame by Guillaume de Machaut has been called the most important polyphonic composition of the 14th century.  There are at least 35 recordings dating back to 1951, although most of those pre-1980 are hard to find and if found only available on vinyl. There appears to be general agreement now […]

Jacob Obrecht : Netherlands Renaissance composer born #OnThisDay

Jacob Obrecht (1457-1505)) was a South Netherlandish composer known mainly for his substantial output of Mass Ordinary settings in the late 15th century, as well as for his motets and songs. Like his close contemporary Josquin des Prez, Obrecht was born and trained in the North, and led a peripatetic career involving positions and patrons […]

Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame : an overview

Guillaume de Machaut is the most important poet and composer of the 14th century, with a lasting history of influence. His unique oeuvre, contained, thanks to the composer’s own efforts, in manuscripts that include only his works, stands in many respects for itself: in terms of its volume, its poetic and compositional formulation and quality, […]