The composers of the Franco-Flemish school, from ca. 1430-1600, strongly identified with what they perceived to be the ideals of the art of ancient Greece—a humanistic spirit and stylistic purity. Beginning with Johannes Ciconia (1335-1411) and continuing through the music of Dufay, Gombert, Willaert, de Monte, and Clemens non Papa, they sought to supplant the harsh, technically inflexible sounds of Medieval music with more natural, consonant sounds and compositional techniques that more closely allied the music to the emotions, rhythms, and images of the words.
The new spirit of Renaissance music culminated in the works of Orlando di Lasso (1532-1594) a highly prolific composer who wrote both sacred and secular pieces that were renowned for their emotional power and technical artistry. In this unusual recording project, distinctive orchestral arrangements of the music of di Lasso and his contemporaries, performed by I Fiamminghi, alternate with sung versions of works in their original form, presented by the exceptional a cappella choral ensemble Currende.
""It is interesting when music of the 'past' is performed in a 'contemporary' way," says Rudolf Werthen, conductor of I Fiamminghi. "The alternation of our arrangements with works in their original choral form as presented by Currende, provides the audience with a deeper perception of the compositions that form the basis of much European music." For this recording, the regular personnel of I Fiamminghi were joined by four recorder players and a lutenist, to provide a more authentic performance of the Renaissance arrangements.
The Cappella Currende, founded in 1974 by Erik van Nevel, consists of twelve to twenty carefully-chosen singers (depending on the stylistic needs of the program), specializing in 16th-century polyphony as well as music of the baroque and classical eras. Both Currende and I Fiamminghi have been appointed "Cultural Ambassadors of Flanders."