Few people realise what a varied and colourful sound that an ensemble of five recorders can produce. This instrument, which enjoyed its flowering in the Renaissance period, was differentiated according to musical pitch, giving birth to a large family of instruments, each capable of extraordinary musical feats for such a simple construction.
This programme of the Cipriano Consort reveals the ability of the recorder - or rather, recorders of various ranges - to replace an entire chorus: the four and five-part songs, chansons, madrigals and motets that feature on the programme were originally vocal compositions. According to the custom of the age, however, the notated parts did not specify the obligatory use of a specific instrument (or singing voice). The performer needed to know which melody, or which accompanying instruments (or high or low-pitched voice), belonged to which part. All of the composers featuring on the programme - Jacob Obrecht (1457/8-1505), Josquin des Prez (1450/55-1521), Jacques Arcadelt (c. 1507-1568), Cipriano de Rore (1515/16-1565), Nicolas Gombert (c. 1495-c. 1560) and Adrian Willaert (c. 1490-1562) were born in the Low Countries. Although most lived their lives in the service of eccelesiastical institutions, they also composed many secular works which they published in various collections, such as in volumes of madrigals.
Presented by: Müpa Budapest
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