The Den Bosch Choirbooks, Part 2

Program: #23-19   Air Date: May 08, 2023

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We have heard the superb Dutch ensemble extensively in the past of the program; this week, the second in a series of recordings dedicated to choirbooks collected in the ensemble’s hometown of ’s-Hertogenbosch, mostly featuring works by Jean Mouton

NOTE: All of the music on this program comes from recordings on the Channel Classics label with the Cappella Pratensis directed by Stratton Bull. Volume 2 is CD # CC72878.

The ‚ÄėIllustre Lieve Vrouwe Broederschap‚Äô in ‚Äės Hertogenbosch (in short: ‚ÄėDen Bosch‚Äô) houses an incredible treasure: a collection of¬† choirbooks from the period 1450-1600, nine of which with beautiful multi-voiced (polyphonic) music. Together they embody the unprecedented cultural flowering period of the Duchy of Brabant, also called the Brabant Golden Age.

The books were commissioned by the¬†Illustre Lieve Vrouwe Broederschap¬†and contain work by renowned composers of the time, such as Jean Mouton and Pierre de la Rue. They have been widely used by the brotherhood for the liturgy, but the music has been muted for centuries. That is now going to change: Cappella Pratensis is going to unpack the Bossche Koorboeken! In an extensive project of five years, all books will succesively be unlocked to the public, in image and in sound. And every year we start with a grand opening concert in ‚Äės-Hertogenbosch.

At the dawn of the Renaissance the southern Dutch city of ‚Äôs-Hertogenbosch, with its abundance of churches and monasteries, was also referred to as ‚ÄúLittle Rome‚ÄĚ. Central to this religious scene was the Brotherhood of Our Illustrious Lady (Illustre Lieve Vrouwe Broederschap), founded in 1318. This devotional organization, which counted among its members the famous painter Hieronymus Bosch, invested considerably in recruiting and employing the best singers and organists for its chapel, which performed a wide variety of polyphonic music. No fewer than nine choirbooks with this repertoire are still preserved by the confraternity.

Marian devotion was at the very centre of the activities of the Brotherhood of Our Illustrious Lady in the late middle ages. Every Wednesday the Confraternity brothers gathered in their opulent chapel in the church of St. John the Evangelist to celebrate a votive Mass in honour of the Blessed Virgin. There they would have heard their choir of men and boys sing not only the ancient plainsong melodies but also the most complex new music of the time, polyphonic masses and motets by composers of both international and local reputation. The sounds of the organ too were integral to these occasions; the Confraternity employed an organist and kept their chapel organ in fine repair.

This recording thus invites listeners to imagine themselves among the confraternity members gathered in their chapel in the church of St John the Evangelist in ’s-Hertogenbosch on a sunny spring day. It is May 6, the great feast of St John Before the Latin Gate that commemorates the attempted martyrdom of the Evangelist in 92 AD.

JEAN MOUTON (1459-1522)
[1] Motet Tua est potentia 2:40

[2] Introitus Protexisti me* 4:56

Missa Tua est potentia
[3] Kyrie 3:31
[4] Gloria 6:55

[5] Alleluia Clamaverunt iusti 1:47
[6] Alleluia Dominus in Synai 2:25
[7] Sequentia Verbum Dei Deo natum* 6:57

[8] Missa Tua est potentia Credo 8:28
[9] Offertorium motet Salva nos Domine 1:40

[10] Prefatio 2:37

[11] Missa Tua est potentia Sanctus with Elevation motet - O salutaris hostia 7:42

[12] Pater noster* 1:40

[13] Missa Tua est potentia Agnus Dei 4:43

[14] Communio Ego sum vitis 0:58

[15] Motet Da pacem Domine 3:07

Composer Info

JEAN MOUTON (1459-1522),

CD Info

Channel Classics label CD # CC72878