Spirited Renaissance


Rudolf Werthen, founder and music director of I Fiammiinghi, the Chamber Orchestra of Flanders, has so carefully programmed the music on Renaissance Of The Spirit, his CD of Franco-Flemish Renaissance masterworks, that it always sounds fresh.

As the Telarc recording proceeds from one contrasting delight to another, instrumental colors and textures change constantly, with airy recorders on one track soon replaced by soaring violins and prominent trumpets and trombones. Shapes shift, voices come and go, but the beauty of this extremely consonant, oft-elevated Renaissance music only grows as the music blissfully resounds.

Nine of the 21 tracks are graced by the vocal gifts of Currende. Conducted by Erik van Nevel, the release includes music by 10 composers whose music culminates in the artistry of Orlando di Lasso (1532-1594). The first of the line, a true harbinger of the Renaissance style, was Johannes Ciconia (c. 1335 - 1411). Then came the great Guillaume Dufay (c.1400-1474), followed by such well-known composers as Nicolas Gombert, (c.1495-1560) Clemens non Papa (c. 1510-1555 or 1556), and Philippe Rogier (1561-1596).

You can certainly follow along, and note the differences in compositional style between 150 years of Franco-Flemish Renaissance composers. Or close your eyes, and let yourself be transported to bliss.