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Alexander Agricola

Agricola Manuscript

(c.1446 - 1506)

Agricola was a Franco-Flemish contemporary of Josquin Des Préz who spent most of his working life in Italy. During his lifetime, he was hailed by some writers as the greatest composer in Europe.

Agricola's output consists of sacred and secular vocal music, as well as several pieces in chanson-style which survive without text. These last examples serve as evidence of a nascent instrumental genre, to which Agricola must have been a prime contributor, and include such purely instrumental effects as diminution.

While Agricola's music uses some of the same structural principles as Josquin's, including a telling ability for working out all voices concurrently, he does not use imitation to the same degree and so looks back somewhat to the previous generation of Johannes Ockeghem. Agricola's compositions are all highly polished, with a fine sense of harmony and voice-leading. ~ Todd McComb (6/94)

Recommended Recordings

Chansons

Sony SK60760
A Secret Labyrinth/Sony SK60760
Paul van Nevel/The Huelgas Ensemble
Chansons with Le Petit & De La Rue-Isaac/Harmonia Mundi HMU9074210
Michael Chance (countertenor)/Fretwork
Fortuna Desperata/Naxos 8.553840
Michael Posch/Ensemble Unicorn
Chansons/RCA Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 77038
Crawford Young/Ferrara Ensemble, Schola Cantorum Basiliensis



Sacred Music

Hungaroton HCD32267
Masses: "Malheur me bat" & "In myne zin"/Hungaroton HCD32011
János Bali/Ars Nova Secunda Chorus
Masses: "Le serviteur" & "Je ne demande"/Hungaroton HCD32267
János Bali/Ars Nova Secunda Chorus
Magnificat; Motets: "Nobis Sancti Spiritus", "O crux ave", "Regina coeli" (also see Josquin)/Chanticleer CR-8808
Chanticleer
Trumpet