The Early mixtape

The Early mixtape is a playlist with music from the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque era.

Some highlights.

Domenico Scarlatti is one of my favourite composers. A very good interpreter of his sonatas is Pierre Hantaï who have recorded four albums with Scarlatti’s sonatas.

Membra Jesu Nostri is seven cantatas, each one dedicated to one of Jesu crucified limbs, by Dieterich Buxtehude.

Graindelavoix astonishing recording of Guillaume de Machaut Messe de Nostre Dame.

Claudio Monteverdi stands between the Renaissance and Baroque Era. The music is both bold beautiful.

Click to open in Spotify




Renaissance: The Earthquake Mass

Essence of the Renaissance is a Spotify playlist with renaissance music.

Antoine Brumel was a French renaissance composer that was born in 1460 and was believed to have died in 1512.

Brumel is most famous for his masses but he also wrote Motets, chansons and some instrumental music.

Missa Et ecce terrae motus, or “The Earthquake Mass”, is a very unusual piece of music in many ways. First, it is written in 12 parts. Most polyphonic music from the renaissance are written in 3 or 4 parts, some may have up to 5 parts. It is also a huge piece, lasting nearly an hour. The work also is an early example of a more homogenous style of music that Palestrina later would master. The name of the mass comes from the antiphon: “Et ecce terrae motus est” or “And behold, there came a movement of the earth”. The result is a truly extraordinary and unusual work. The slow moving melody is harmonized and ornamented with blocks of harmony and imitating voices.

Enjoy! (click here to open the playlist in spotify).

Renaissance: Ockeghem Missa prolationum

Essence of the Renaissance is a Spotify playlist with renaissance music.

Johannes Ockeghem was one of the greatest composers in the Renaissance era. He wrote both Masses, Motets and Chansons. During his lifetime he was known not only as a composer but as a singer choirmaster and teacher. He had a strong influence on other composers like Josquin des Prez, who honored Ockeghem after his death with the motet La déploration de la mort de Johannes Ockeghem.

Kyrie from Ockeghem’s Missa Ecce ancilla Domini in Chigi Codex.

Ockeghem was one of the true masters of counterpoint. Counterpoint is the relation between musical voices. The goal is that each voice is an independent melody and that the voices together form a harmonic polyphony. Counterpoint is one the of the craftsmanship that composers have to master, even today. The development of counterpoint was peeking during the Renaissance and Baroque era with Palestrina and Bach as the most famous masters. But two of Ockeghem’s pieces, Missa prolationum and Missa cuiusvis toni, is considered two of the greatest examples of counterpoint.

The Missa cuiusvis toni is written in such a way that it can be sung in any of four of the different types of modes that music was written in during the renaissance era.

Missa prolationum is special in that it is written entirely with mensuration canons. A ordinary canon consist of one melody and several imitations of that melody delayed in time. One famous example is Frère Jacques. A mensuration canon is a canon where the imitations have different speeds then the main melody. It is very difficult to compose and is therefor quite rare. Because of that Missa prolationum is considered one of the greatest contrapuntal achievements. It is also a very beautiful piece of music.

Enjoy! (click here to open the playlist in spotify).

Composer Weekly: Monteverdi

Composer weekly is a Spotify playlist that is updated each week with a new composer. This weeks composer is Claudio Monteverdi.

Monteverdi stands between Renaissance and Baroque. You see that especially in his fifth book of madrigals. He was involved in a famous dispute with Giovanni Artusi regarding the new type of music, seconda practica, where Monteverdi defended and described it in the foreword to the fifth book. The prima practica is the old polyphonic style of the Renaissance and seconda practica is the new style with a more clear hierarchy of the voices and the beginning of continuo as found in Baroque music.

He worked for many years at the court of Vincenzo I of Gonzaga as a vocalist, viol player and musical director. Because of that he primarily wrote secular madrigals until he turned 40.

Later in his life Monteverdi developed the seconda practica into larger works and was one of the first to compose what we today call operas. He wrote quite a few but only three have survived, L’Orfeo, Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria and L’incoronazione di Poppea.

Monteverdi didn’t write many sacred works but one of them is very famous, Vespro della Beata Vergine.

BBC have made a really good documentary about Monteverdi and that piece.

The playlist is a made in chronological order, from Madrigals in the first book to scenes from the last opera, L’incoronazione di Poppea.

Enjoy! (click here to open the playlist in spotify).