To complete a triptych of recordings presenting an alternative view of performance practice from across a century of Franco-Flemish polyphony, Björn Schmelzer and Graindelavoix now turn their attention to music by Alexander Agricola and his contemporaries in Cecus.
Following on from their two earlier albums, Joye and La Magdalene, Cecus concerns itself with music associated with blind players (notably two fiddlers from Bruges) and memory and commemoration (laments on the deaths of Agricola and Johannes Ockeghem) coming from the chapel of Philippe le Beau and Juana of Castile.
Alexander Agricola’s own musical world – and especially Cecus non judicat de coloribus [The Blind Do Not Distinguish Colours] – crosses the border between theory and practice, between flamboyant experience and rational construction and constantly evokes blindness in relation to memory and written or improvised music, but also in connection with those songs of mourning.
Graindelavoix’s new CD for Glossa promises polyphony in sharply-articulated, richly-coloured performances, provided with athletic vocal gestures by Schmelzer and his Antwerp-based ensemble of musicians from Spain, Estonia, the UK, France and Belgium.
“[The Agricola is] the first recording of a piece that looks slight on the page but is moving enough in performance...it's good of Graindelavoix to tackle some fo the famous pieces of the time (Nymphes des bois and Absalon fili mi, whoever wrote it) along with some obscure ones.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2011