Born today, Don Carlo Gesualdo is a much maligned polyphonic genius

Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa (8 March 1566 – 8 September 1613) was Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza. As a musician he is best known for writing intensely expressive madrigals and pieces of sacred music that use a chromatic language not heard again until the late 19th century. He is also known for his cruelty […]

Harry Christophers and The Sixteen : Palestrina

The music of Palestrina was described by Wagner as being timeless and spaceless, ‘a spiritual revelation throughout’. With polyphony of utter purity, the Palestrina style has been a subject of study by composers for centuries. Long vocal lines flow in a continuous rhythm, imitative and with an original plainchant melodic motive for each phrase of […]

Thomas Tallys : one of Englands’s greatest composers died #OnThisDay in 1585

Thomas Tallis (c. 1505 – 1585) was an English composer who occupies a primary place in anthologies of English choral music, and is considered one of England’s greatest composers. No contemporary portrait of Tallis survives: that painted by Gerard Vandergucht (above), dates from 150 years after Tallis died, and there is no reason to suppose […]

Antoine Busnois : Worthy of the immortal gods, died #OnThisDay 1492

On this day in 1492, Antoine Busnois died.  He was a Netherlandish composer and poet of the early Renaissance Burgundian School. While also noted as a composer of motets and other sacred music, he was one of the most renowned 15th-century composers of secular chansons. He was the leading figure of the late Burgundian school after the […]

Gregorio Allegri : Renaissance vocal polyphony in its purest form

Gregorio Allegri (1582 — 17 February 1652) was an Italian composer of the Roman School and brother of Domenico Allegri; he was also a priest and a singer. He lived mainly in Rome, where he would later die. He studied music as a puer (boy chorister) at San Luigi dei Francesi, under the maestro di […]

Josquin des Prez : Passed away in the year 1521, the 27th of August

Josquin des Prez, also spelled Desprez, des Prés, or Després (born c. 1450, Condé-sur-l’Escaut?, Burgundian Hainaut [France]—died Aug 27, 1521, Condé-sur-l’Escaut), one of the greatest composers of Renaissance Europe. In an era when music was generally performed a few times before being replaced by something newer, Josquin des Prez was a rarity: a composer who […]