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The latest segment catalogue of Early Music covers a vast landscape in time – almost a thousand years – during which sacred and secular music burgeoned slowly but distinctively across Europe.

From Gregorian plainchant to the colour and variety of later styles, the musical backdrop to the panoply of life that is generally shrouded in the mists of time is clearly documented here. Mediaeval, Renaissance and the early shoots of Baroque music are gathered either in discrete discs by composer or in compilations: the distinctive sound-worlds of Leonin, Byrd and Monteverdi, for example, alternate with French chansons, German lute songs and Italian dramatic laments.

The extraordinary breadth of the music contained in this catalogue enables music, history and the imagination to freely mix. Be sure to check out the following selection of music from the Medieval and Renaissance Periods, selected from this catalogue.

Click on the cover image on the left to view the catalogue (in PDF format).

Recent Releases

Naxos 8.572477
CABEZON, A. de / CABEZON, H. de / CABEZON, J. de: Glosas

Selected from the 1578 Obras de Música published by blind keyboard master Antonio de Cabezón’s son Hernando, these glosas enrich the vast resource of Renaissance vocal music through variation and elaboration. Extra layers of polyphony and ornament crystallize the tradition of improvisation on pre-existing works, both in the splendour of the sacred, and in chansons and madrigals with more secular emotions. Antonio de Cabezón’s Tientos y Glosados can be heard on Naxos 8.554836, and Glen Wilson’s acclaimed recording of his complete Tientos and Variations is on8.572475–76.

Naxos 8.573147-49
GESUALDO, C.: Madrigals, Books 5 and 6 (Madrigali libro quinto e sesto, 1611)
Delitiae Musicae, Longhini

Published together in 1611, Gesualdo’s Fifth and Sixth Books of Madrigals can be seen as musical ‘twins’, concluding a collection of madrigals by a composer whose boundless invention and creativity was unrestrained by an employer’s demands or the constraints of courtly convention. Gesualdo returns to themes of love and rejection, death and suffering, joy and sorrow; creating music which has the power to surprise and enthrall anyone who hears it. This is Delitiæ Musicæ’s final volume of their highly acclaimed cycle of the complete Madrigals.

Naxos 8.572840
Music from the Eton Choirbook
Tonus Peregrinus, Pitts

BBC Music Magazine

The Eton Choirbook is a giant 500 year-old manuscript from Eton College Chapel, and one of the greatest surviving glories of pre-Reformation England. This recording features the earliest polyphonic Passion by a named composer, two heartrending motets for five and six voices, two thrilling settings of the Magnificat, and an extraordinary canon in 13 parts, Jesus autem transiens. The ensemble TONUS PEREGRINUS has been widely acclaimed, not least for its “richly sung and very well recorded” programme of Orlando Gibbons, L’Estrange, and Pitts. (The Penguin Guide on 8.557681)

Naxos 8.572576
Dulce Melos

The Glogauer Liederbuch is a forgotten treasure, a rich repository of fifteenth-century music. It contains 292 songs, devotional chants and instrumental pieces which were performed by educated enthusiasts or students, not by professional musicians. The collection also includes several pieces known as ‘Schwanz’ (tail), which probably designates them as dances (‘schwanzen’ being a derivation of ‘tanzen’, ie dancing). The music sung or played in this Lower Silesian monastic community originated in many different countries, but all the pieces show a richly developed standard. The Liederbuch is the oldest known set of part-books from central Europe.

Naxos 8.572800
Percival's Lament - Medieval Music and the Holy Grail
Capilla Antigua de Chinchilla, Ferrero

The Holy Grail has occupied a central place in Western life. It was believed by many to have been used by Christ at the Last Supper, and in the middle ages writers saw the Grail as a dish, or a chalice, or a precious stone. Songs and instrumental music celebrated its mystical power and were composed by some of the greatest troubadours, mystics and singer-poets of the age: Chrétien de Troyes, Walther von der Vogelweide, Wolfram von Eschenbach, and Hildegard of Bingen. This disc uniquely focuses on the common threads between Grail literature and music.

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Medieval Period




Renaissance Period




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