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  • Alexander Agricola: A Secret Labyrinth
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Alexander Agricola: A Secret Labyrinth Import

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Audio CD, Import, June 20, 2007
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 20, 2007)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Sony Bmg Europe
  • ASIN: B000026BUG
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #328,210 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on December 9, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I bought the original issue of this CD in 1999, when it was fresh from the mint, but I forgot to listen to it and it sat on my shelf unheard until this week. Meanwhile I've often moaned and groaned about the absence of choice performances of the music of Alexander Agricola (1446-1506), especially of his masses. But the moaning can stop. This performance of chansons and mass movements does the job.

Nearly the same age as Josquin Desprez, Agricola was also nearly as venerated in his own time. The scion of a wealthy patrician family of Ghent, Agricola must have chosen a career as a singer and composer out of love for music rather than need; he is almost unique among his peers in never taking clerical orders or holding any churchly offices. That's just the tip of Agricola's eccentricity, however. His compositional style is so distinct that his works are instantly recognizable from others of the Franco-Flemish era. Unlike Josquin, he had no school of imitators - perhaps no serious students - yet his music was acknowledged by the theorists of the century as often and as favorably as Josquin's. Ottaviano Petrucci, the Venetian printer who knew his market extremely well, published more of Agricola by far than of most of his generation. The chanson "Je nay dueil" has survived in fourteen far-scattered sources.

But Agricola is hard... hard to imitate and hard to perform. Unlike Josquin or Mouton, whose music is accessible to amateur choirs, Agricola is all or nothing: you get it right or you don't get it at all. Many of the Franco-Flemish masters were fond of musical puzzles and conundrums of modality. The conventions of "white note" partbooks encouraged such in-group communications.
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