Saturday Chorale: Bouzignac was way ahead of his time

By  | March 5, 2011 | 2 Comments | Filed under: Choral Music

Jean Bellegambe (±1470 - ±1535) Annunciation  Date 1516-17. Technique: Oil on canvas tansferred from wood,. Location: The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Jean Bellegambe (±1470 - ±1535) Annunciation
Date 1516-17.
Technique: Oil on canvas tansferred from wood,.
Location: The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Guillaume Bouzignac was way ahead of his time. Born (probably) in 1587 he packed a lot of composing between then and his death in (probably) 1643. He was born in Saint-Nazaire-d'Aude, in  Languedoc-Roussillon and applied as a boy to study at the Cathedral of St. Juste  in Narbonne, reputedly submitting several original compositions in support of his application. The Cathedral accepted his application and he "graduated" in 1604 aged 17. — The motet "O mors, ero mors tua" ("O death, I will be your death") was his "graduation composition". It's a remarkable piece of music with opening dissonances and suspensions that pop into my mind everytime I hear the technique used in 20th Century compositions*.

After "graduating", St. Juste appointed him as assistant master of music. His subsequent career included a posting at the Church of St. André, Grenoble, a lot of travel in Italy and Spain, and appointments as choirmaster at the Cathedrals of Angoulême, Bourges (where he was ordained as a priest in 1624), Tours and Clermont-Ferrand.

For this week's "Saturday Chorale" I've picked a performance of his setting of "Ave Maria" by Les Arts Florissants, Les Pages de la chapelle (Maitrise du Centre du Musique Baroque de Versailles) Conducted by Olivier Schneebeli, I love this recording, it's one of the pieces of music I listen to de-stress. Enjoy :-)

markfromireland

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2 Responses to Saturday Chorale: Bouzignac was way ahead of his time

  1. Lucia M. Kim July 2, 2012 at 8:10 AM

    Wow, this piece is definitely nouveau! So nouveau that it doesn't sound like a 17th-century melody at all... sounds like a breakaway from the typical style of the time, even to these lay ears. Mark always guides me (all of us ??) into unknown (at least to me) world of music, broadening my limited horizon of tastes. Thanks always and again for that, Mark!

    • markfromireland July 2, 2012 at 1:50 PM

      Ah dear friend, you have just made my day. Bouzignac is very special - I first heard of him via the Petits Chanteurs À La Croix De Bois and thought to myself "What and who on earth is this?" Not very much of his music is available but what there is is very special. Delighted you liked it.

      mark

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