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The landscape of the polyphonists

2022 | Sony Music / Deutsche Harmonia Mundi

The landscape of the polyphonists

CD info

In 2018, Paul Van Nevel wrote a book - ‘The Landscape of the Polyphonists’ - about these more than two hundred composers who, for more than one hundred and fifty years, left their mark on the style of vocal polyphony across the continent of Europe. Their style is based on two structures: the technique of imitation; and melody that is bathed in a haze of melancholy. In his book, Van Nevel defends the hypothesis that the Franco-Flemish landscape, with its gentle slopes, its omnipresent horizon, and its never-ending and visible seasonal changes, has left an indelible emotional impression on the children who, between the ages of six and ten, left the safe havens of this landscape and explored beyond their horizons for the first time, entering the colleges and cathedral singing schools of Cambrai, Douai, Arras and elsewhere. Often these children never returned to their birthplaces and became singers and composers at the musical centres of Europe, such as the Burgundian Court, the Habsburg courts and the Sistine Chapel.

This recording is a representation of the Franco-Flemish School in all its varied aspects and links them to images of the regions in which these composers spent their childhood. Repetitions in the landscape (the imitations) and the melancholy of expectation, lying beyond the horizon, are never far away.


Johannes Symonis Hasprois (Haspres ca.1360 - Rome 1428) : Ma douce amour (virelai à 3)

Antoine Busnois (Busnes ca.1430 - Brugge 1492) : Bel Acueil (rondeau à 1, 2 & 3)

Johannes Ockeghem (St. Ghislain ca.1420 - Tours 1497) : Sanctus 'Missa Caput' à 4

Josquin Desprez (St. Sauveur (?) ca.1455 - Condé-sur-l'Escaut 1521) : Cueur langoreulx (chanson à 5)

Josquin Desprez : Agnus Dei 'Missa Malheur me bat' à 4, 2 & 6

Antoine de Févin (Atrecht ca.1470 - Blois ca.1511)  : Lamentations pour le Jeudi Saint, Lectio Primo à 4

Jean Mouton (Samer ca.1459 - St. Quentin 1522) : Qui ne regrettoit le gentil Févin (lamento à 4)

Nicolle des Celliers de Hesdin (Hesdin ca.1490 - Beauvais 1538) : Parasti in dulcedine tua (motet à 5)

Jean l'Héritier (Bisdom Teerenburg ca.1480 - Avignon ca.1552) : Locutus est Dominus (motet à 9)

Josquin Baston (Artois ca.1495 - ca.1550)  : Une souvenir me conforte (chanson à 5)

Pierre de Manchicourt (Béthune ca.1510 - Madrid 1564) : Agnus Dei 'Missa Veni Sancte Spiritus' à 6

Nicolas Gombert (La Gorgue ca.1495 - Tournai ca.1560) : O malheureuse journée (chanson à 5)

Nicolas Gombert : Agnus Dei 'Missa Tempore paschali' à 6 & 12

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