The fifteenth century witnessed vastly increased freedoms, most particularly in terms of what is actually perceived as ‘harmony’ and ‘polyphony’ (the simultaneous movement of two or three interrelated parts). Composers (although they were barely perceived as such) were still almost entirely devoted to choral writing, and the few instrumental compositions which have survived often create the impression (in many cases entirely accurately) of being vocal works in disguise, but minus the words.
There is obvious new delight in textural variety and contrast, so that, for example, a particular section of text might be enhanced by a vocal part dropping out momentarily, only to return again at a special moment of emphasis. The four most influential composers of the fifteenth century were Dunstable, Ockeghem, Despres and Dufay.
The second half of the 16th century witnessed the beginnings of the tradition which many music lovers readily associate with the normal feel of ‘classical’ music. Gradually, composers moved away from the modal system of harmony which had predominated for over 300 years (and still sounds somewhat archaic to some modern ears), towards the organisation of their work into major and minor scales, thereby imparting the strong sensation of each piece having a definite tonal centre or ‘key’.
This was also something of a golden period for choral composition as a seemingly endless flow of a capella (unaccompanied) masses, motets, anthems, psalms and madrigals flowed from the pens of the masters of the age. In addition, instrumental music came into its own for the first time, especially keyboard music in the form of fantasias, variations, and dance movements (galliards, pavanes etc.). Composers of particular note include Dowland, Tallis, Byrd, Gibbons, Frescobaldi, Palestrina, Victoria, Lassus, Alonso Lobo, Duarte Lobo, Cardoso and Gesualdo.
|Album Title||Catalogue No.|
|A LA DECOUVERTE DU CLASSIQUE||8.550037-38|
|A TO Z OF CLASSICAL MUSIC (The) (2nd Expanded Edition, 2000)||8.555319-20|
|A TO Z OF CLASSICAL MUSIC (The) (3rd Expanded Edition, 2009)||8.558212-13|
|A TO Z OF OPERA||8.555037-38|
|A TO Z OF OPERA (The) (2nd expanded edition)||8.558216-17|
|ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS SONGS (Bavarian Radio Chorus)||OC535|
|AFFRESCO MUSICALE DEL RINASCIMENTO A BOLOGNA||TC450002|
|AGNUS DEI - Classical Music for Reflection and Meditation||8.556701|
|AGRICOLA, A.: Fortuna desperata - Secular Music of the 15th Century(Ensemble Unicorn)||8.553840|
|AIR COMBAT COMMAND HERITAGE OF AMERICA BAND: Rockin' In Rhythm||75442261672|
|A-la-mi-re Manuscripts (The): Flemish Polyphonic Treasures (Capilla Flamenca, Denecker)||8.554744|
|ALBERGATI, P.: Corona de pregi di Maria / VICTORIA, T.L. de: Motets and Antiphons (Ensemble La Flora)||TC660103|
|ALEOTTI, V.: Sacrae cantiones (Le Monache di San Vito) (Cappella Artemisia, Smith)||TC570101|
|All the Queen's Men - Music for Elizabeth I (Sarum Consort, Mackay)||8.572582|
|ALLELUJA NATIVITAS - Canti di Natale (Christmas Songs)||TC900002|
|AMARCORD: Book of Madrigals (The) (NTSC)||ACC-20304|
|AMBROSINI, C.: Plurimo / Tocar / Morte di Caravaggio (Arciuli, Libetta, Orvietto, Carlini, RAI Symphony, Valade, Storgårds, Venzago, Angius)||STR37086|
|AMMERBACH: Harpsichord Works from the Tabulaturbuch (1571)||8.570335|
|ANCHIETA, J. de: Missa Sine Nomine (Capilla Peñaflorida)||8.555772|
|ANDERSON, L.: Christmas Festival (A) / Carol Arrangements (Leroy Anderson and His Orchestra) (1952, 1955)||9.80765|
|ANDREWS SISTERS: Hit the Road (1938-1944)||8.120550|
|ANGEL VOICES - The Boys' Choirs Christmas Celebration||C7069|
|ANIMOSO MIO DESIRE - 16th-Century Italian Keyboard Favourites (Wilson)||8.572983|
|ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION (THE) - 30 CDs to Celebrate 30 Years of Naxos (30-CD Box Set)||8.503293|