Listening to Pictures: Art and Music in the early Renaissance

Illustrated with stunning projected images interacting with exquisite music, the Orlando Consort’s new ‘Listening to Pictures’ programme offers a fascinating representation of the synergy that lies at the heart of Renaissance culture. The concert reveals through the works of artists such as Fra Angelico, Lucca della Robbia and Carlo Crivelli and composers including Guillaume Dufay, Loyset Compère and Josquin Desprez how ethereal visions of earthly and heavenly delights were moulded and formed to reflect on and guide the lives of those fortunate audiences who first witnessed them.

Voices Appeared

"When Carl Theodor Dreyer's La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc was released in 1928, it caused a minor scandal. Condemned unseen in France, vilified by Catholic authorities and even banned in England for its depiction of English soldiers, it is now recognised as a cinematic masterpiece, regularly appearing in lists of the top ten greatest ever films and featuring what is generally accepted as one of the finest performances on film, by Renée Jeanne Falconetti in the title role."

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Guillaume de Machaut: Portrait of a Genius

"For all music-lovers who enjoy compiling lists of the greatest composers of all time, the Orlando Consort are proud to champion the case for the name of Guillaume de Machaut to appear close to the summit. Today this 14th century French cleric is best-known for a single work, the extraordinary Messe de Nostre Dame. However, in his own era Machaut was feted throughout Europe for his wide-ranging skills. The Orlando Consort's new programme demonstrates the full lyrical beauty, the sensual imagery and the inspired harmonic brilliance that lies in the work of this truly great poet - a direct inspiration to Chaucer - and composer. (For biographical notes please see below.)"

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Loyset Compère

"Discovery of the year goes to the Orlando consort's selection of music by Loyset Compère. This stylish release marks a further step forward in the evolution of this elegant and intelligent ensemble."

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Scattered Rhymes

"The Orlando Consort combines forces with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir under Paul Hillier. It is an interleaved programme of ancient and modern which contrasts the music of Guillaume de Machaut and Guillaume Dufay with modern composers like Tarik O'Regan and Gavin Bryars."

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Food, Wine and Song

"A grand celebration of medieval music and food, complete with authentic-style recipes — this disc features works by French, English, Spanish, Portugese and German composers."

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The Anonymous Monk

"At the very end of the 12th century and throughout the 13th century the western world took a giant leap forward in the development of many of the fields of human achievement. In the arts and sciences, in religion and education, in law and politics, these were exciting times, and the main focus of all this creative activity was to be found in the city of Paris."

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"Taking as its starting point the common ground of improvisation shared by jazz and medieval music, this radical crossover project can justifiably be described as a collaboration. Award winning early music group the Orlando Consort join forces with the innovative and distinctive Perfect Houseplants to create music which cannot easily be described, only experienced."

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The Rose, the Lily, and the Whortleberry

"In celebration of the floral imagery used by many of Europe's greatest composers over a span of 300 years to depict both earthly and heavenly love, the Orlando Consort sings poetic texts ranging from the sacred to the downright suggestive. Includes essays by Sir Roy Strong, Susan Hitch; and a garden design created by Christopher Bradley-Hole."

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Amore: Love and Marriage in the Italian Renaissance

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"Over many centuries, the meeting of diverse yet established musical traditions has proved to be a powerful stimulus for the creation of new styles and sounds. The dramatic and magical encounter of Iberian and Indian music in the early 16th century stands out as a thrillingly evocative and inspirational chapter in this history."

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What am I listening to?

You are listening to a commemorative motet, ‘Quis dabit capiti meo aquam’, by the composer, Heinrich Isaac (c1450-1517). Specifically, you will hear the last of the four sections of this beautiful piece, a lament on the death of Lorenzo de’ Medici in April 1492. It is one track from our latest disk, The Florentine Renaissance, produced by Hyperion records (DA68349), a rich and varied selection of secular and sacred music, an aural collage of the vibrant city of Florence in the early Renaissance.