Alexander Agricola (1446-1506) - A discography

This discography is presently in a preliminary state. It is believed to contain a substantial percentage of an eventual full listing, but has not been scoured for completeness or organized into sections based on individual works. It should prove informative nonetheless.

Discographic material below has been collected to this stage with substantial help from Pierre-F. Roberge.

Todd M. McComb

Biography

Alexander Agricola (1446-1506) was one of the leading composers of the Josquin generation. The illegitimate son of a wealthy Ghent businesswoman, his career led him to most of the countries of Western Europe. Alexander's surname was apparently Ackerman, but he is called Agricola in most sources. Despite ample documentary evidence of his mother's activities, the first concrete reference to Alexander as a musician is from Cambrai in 1476. He must have found employment later at the French royal court, since the next concrete reference is to him leaving there without permission to go to Italy in 1491. He returned to France the next year, and was subsequently presented with an employment opportunity at Naples for half again as much salary as Josquin demanded of Ferrara. That appointment disappeared with the death of Ferrante I (1494), but Agricola went to Italy anyway. By 1500, he returned to his native Burgundy, and accepted a court appointment there. He traveled to Spain twice with Philip the Fair, and died in Valladolid of a fever in 1506. An epitaph states that he was 60 at the time, but there is reason to believe that he may have been as much as 10 years younger.

Agricola's music was first transmitted in quantity in the 1490s. His most characteristic works are his songs and secular instrumental pieces, with over 80 surviving. They are overwhelmingly in three parts, and frequently quote songs by other composers, often in oblique fashion. Agricola's series of instrumental variations on De tous biens plaine is a particularly conspicuous example of his flair for variety and ornamental figuration. Most of Agricola's motets, of which he wrote over two dozen, are in a compact and straightforward style. The succinct three-voice Si dedero was the most-copied work of its generation, as well as a popular model for other settings. Agricola's stature was consummated with Petrucci's publication of a dedicated volume of his masses in 1504, and it is in his eight mass cycles that Agricola's unusual sense for counterpoint shows most clearly. His Missa In minen sin is one of the largest cycles of the era, a virtual encyclopedia of motivic variation. Agricola did not show the concern for text championed by Josquin, nor the feel for open textures pioneered by Obrecht. His counterpoint is extremely dense, with a fantastical feeling developing upon the "irrationality" of Ockeghem's designs. Agricola's larger settings are consequently some of the most intricate and inventive of the era, combining an abundance of contrapuntal ideas with a seemingly intentional arbitrariness into a web of shifting musical connections.

Todd M. McComb, 11/01

Discography

Original releases

(or first known)

  1. Adda 581 316
    Le chansonnier Nivelle de la Chaussée (Chansons courtoise du XVe siècle)
    Ensemble Amadis

  2. Advent D 1023 [Cassette]
    Songs of a travelling apprentice
    Fiedler, Cunningham, The Cambridge Consort - Joel Cohen, dir.

  3. Alice Musik ALCD 008
    Schola Buccina Trombone Ensemble on authentic instruments
    Schola Buccina Trombone Ensemble

  4. Ambitus 97947
    La Symétrie
    Ensemble Flûte Harmonique

  5. Ambronay 007
    Polyphony collected and commisioned by Margareta of Austria
    Les Jardins de Courtoisie - Anne Delafosse-Quentin

  6. Archiv 457 609
    A Flemish Feast
    Flemish Renaissance Wind Music
    Piffaro Renaissance Band - Joan Kimball & Robert Wiemken

  7. Argo ZRG 823 [LP]
    Renaissance brass
    Music from 1400-1600
    Philip Jones Brass Ensemble

  8. Ars Musici 1168
    Ricercari, Capricci e Fantasie a tre
    Italienische Musik im Cinquecento
    La Gamba Freiburg - Ekkehard Weber

  9. AS&V "Gaudeamus" 306
    Josquin: Missa Malheur me bat / Motets & Chansons
    The Clerks' Group - Edward Wickham

  10. Calliope 9305
    Josquin: Missa "L'homme armé sexti toni" & Chansons
    Ensemble Obsidienne - Emmanuel Bonnardot

  11. Carpe Diem CD 16294 [CD]
    Mundus et musica
    Instrumental music in Spain and Flanders ca. 1500
    Qualia - Lambert Colson

  12. Chanticleer 8808
    Josquin: Missa Mater Patris / Agricola: Magnificat & Motets
    Chanticleer - Joseph Jennings

  13. Christophorus CHR 77291
    Renaissance Winds
    Musik für Alta Capella um 1500 - Music for alta capella around 1500
    Ensemble Les Haulz et Les Bas

  14. Christophorus 77298
    Ex lux perpetua
    Funeral Music of the Renaissance
    Ensemble Chant 1450

  15. Christophorus 77368
    Colours in the Dark
    The Instrumental Music of Alexander Agricola
    Ensemble Leones - Marc Lewon

  16. The Classic Voice "Antiqua" 1 [magazine+CD]
    La Milano degli Sforza
    Agricola / Compère / Martini / Lubeck / Weerbecke
    Ensemble Odhecaton

  17. CRD 3448
    The Flower of all Ships
    Tudor Court Music from the Time of the Mary Rose
    Circa 1500 Ensemble

  18. Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 77038
    Agricola: Chansons
    Ferrara Ensemble - Crawford Young

  19. Deux-Elles 1144 [CD]
    Music for the Queen of Scots
    The Flautadors

  20. Discophiles français 330 222/4 [LPx3, mono]
    Anthologie de la chanson française de 1450 à 1550, de Gilles Binchois à Guillaume Costeley
    Ensemble vocal Blanchard - Roger Blanchard, dir.

  21. Dorian 90301
    Music from the Odhecaton
    Piffaro

  22. Dorian 90312
    Trionfo d'Amore e della Morte
    Florentine Music for a Medici Procession
    Piffaro / Concord Ensemble - Joan Kimball & Robert Wiemken

  23. Dorian DOR 93 175
    The Sport of Love
    Songs of Love and the Hunt from the Renaisace and Middle Ages
    Música Antigua de Albuquerque

  24. Dorian Discovery 80128
    Music for Joan the Mad
    Spain 1479-1555
    La Nef - Sylvain Bergeron

  25. Dorian Discovery 80135
    The Garden of Earthly Delights
    La Nef - Sylvain Bergeron

  26. ECM New Series 1504
    Codex Speciálník
    Hilliard Ensemble

  27. EGT 765
    Alfons el Magnànim
    Música profana de la Cort Aragonesa en Nàpoles (1450-1500)
    Capella de Ministrers - Carles Magraner, dir.

  28. Emergo Classics 3987
    Early Music of the Netherlands, Volume 1: 1400-1600
    Gesualdo Consort / Concerto Palatino / Ensemble Tragicomedia

  29. EMI/HMV SLS 5049 [LPx3]
    The Art of the Netherlands
    The Early Music Consort of London - David Munrow

  30. EMI (HMV) 5 C193 24588 / 89 [LPx2]
    Anno Domini 1501
    45 compositions by Masters of the Low Countries
    Ensemble Syntagma Musicum

  31. Ensemble de la Rue Productions 200101
    The Cry
    Ensemble de la Rue - William Kempster

  32. Etcetera 1343
    Lamentations by Agricola, Morales, Lassus
    Egidius Kwartet / Gregoriana

  33. Etcetera 4011
    Dame de Deuil
    Musical Offerings for Marguerite of Austria (1480-1530)
    La Morra - Michal Gondko & Corina Marti

  34. Eufoda 1071 [LP]
    Het studentenleven anno 1570
    Capilla Flamenca

  35. Eufoda 1169
    Guillaume Dufay en Bourgondië
    Capella Sancti Michaelis / Currende Consort - Erik Van Nevel

  36. Eufoda 1266
    Zingen en spelen in Vlaamse steden en begijnhoven - Music in Flemish Cities and Beguignages 1400-1500
    Capilla Flamenca

  37. Eufoda 1359
    Canticum Canticorum
    In Praise of Love: The Song of Songs in the Renaissance
    Capilla Flamenca - Dirk Snellings

  38. Eufoda 1366
    Lumina
    Christmas around the 1500's
    Capilla Flamenca

  39. Eufoda 1369
    Désir d'aymer
    Capilla Flamenca

  40. Gentile 20060902
    In minen sin
    Wereldlijke muziek aan de Italiaanse hoven rond 1500
    Ensemble Corona

  41. Globe 6058 (2 CDs)
    Antwerp Song Book, 1544
    Camerata Trajectina / Egidius Kwartet

  42. Glossa GCD P32105 [CD]
    CECUS
    Colours, blindness and memorial: Alexander Agricola and his contemporaries
    Graindelavoix; - Björn Schmelzer, dir.

  43. Gotham Records "The French Broadcasting System in North America" GRC 9084 / 9085 [LPx2, auto. coupling]
    Masterworks from France - Program 729 & 730
    Dufay, Agricola, Des Prés - 17th Century Chamber Music
    Roger Blanchard Vocal Ensemble & Roger Delage Instrumental Ensemble
    H. Dreyfus, A. van de Wiele, Roger Blanchard Instrumental Ensemble - Roger Blanchard, dir.

  44. Harmonia mundi "Documenta" HMC 90 5253
    Amours amours amours
    Lautenduos um 1500 - Duos de luths autour de 1500 - Lute Duos around 1500
    Schröder, Young

  45. Harmonia Mundi HMU 907291
    Petrucci: Harmonice Musices Odhecaton
    Fretwork

  46. Harmonia Mundi USA 907328
    The Toledo Summit
    Early 16th-c. Spanish & Flemish songs & motets
    Orlando Consort

  47. Harmonia Mundi HMU 90 7398
    Medieval Gardens - Jardins Médiévaux
    The Rose, the Lily & the Whortleberry
    The Orlando Consort

  48. Harmonia Mundi 90 7421
    Agricola: Chansons
    Michael Chance / Fretwork

  49. Hungaroton 32011
    Agricola: Missa Malheur me bat / Missa In minen sin
    Ars Nova Secunda Chorus - János Bali

  50. Hungaroton 32267
    Agricola: Missa Le serviteur / Missa Je ne demande
    A:N:S Chorus - János Bali

  51. Hyperion 66814
    The Cradle of the Renaissance
    Italian music from the time of Leonardo da Vinci
    Sirinu

  52. K617 056 (Collection Mémoire Musicale de la Lorraine)
    La Chapelle des chantres des Ducs de Lorraine
    Thérache / Lasson / Motets de Lorraine
    Ensemble Cantus Figuratus / La Traditora - Dominique Vellard

  53. Klara MMP 013
    Musica aldersoetste Konst
    Polyphonic songs from the Low Countries
    Huelgas Ensemble - Paul Van Nevel

  54. Koch "Discover" DIC 920 388
    Birds And Harmony
    From Janequin to Monteverdi
    Ensemble Terpsichore

  55. Lantefana 94101
    Intabulations
    Lute Music, 1440-1500
    Crawford Young

  56. Ligia Digital lidi0202217-10 [CD]
    Ockeghem et Compère
    Musique au temps d'Anne de France
    La Main Harmonique – Frédéric Bétous, dir.

  57. MA Records MA 035A
    Songs and dances from the Spanish Renaissance
    Camerata Iberia

  58. Melodya C10 23417 002
    Pro Musica I - Ensemble of Old Music
    Live recordings of outstanding Musicians - G. Dufay, A. Agricola, H. Brumel, H. Isaac, J. Despréz
    Pro Musica New York - Noah Greenberg, cond.

  59. Musical Heritage Society MHS 7149 [LP]
    Three Renaissance Masses
    Schola Cantorum of St. Mary the Virgin - McNeil Robinson, dir.

  60. Musikszene Schweiz 6110
    Aus dem Liederbuch des Johannes Heer von Glarus
    Ensemble Ludwig Senfl - Michel Piguet

  61. Musique en Wallonie MEW 525
    Dulcis Melancholia
    Biographie musicale de Marguerite d'Autriche
    Capilla Flamenca

  62. Naxos 8.553840
    Agricola: Fortuna desperata
    Secular Music of the 15th Century
    Ensemble Unicorn - Michael Posch

  63. Naxos 8.558119
    Raphael - Music of his Time
    Ensemble Unicorn - Michael Posch

  64. Obsidian 712 [CDx2]
    The Spy's Choirbook
    Petrus Alamire & the Court of Henry VIII
    Alamire / English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble - David Skinner

  65. Opus 111 OPS 30-158
    Venite a laudare
    Obsidienne - Emmanuel Bonnardot, dir.

  66. Oratorio ORCD 4103 [CD]
    Musique au temps de Jacques Cartier
    Ensemble Claude-Gervaise

  67. ORF Shop OS 2 004 820 [CDx2]
    Musik um 1500 zur Zeit Margaretes & Maximilian I
    Capilla Flamenca - Snellings, dir.

  68. Phaedra 92069
    La déclinaison de la femme
    Around Margaret of Austria
    Encantar

  69. Raum Klang 2005
    Petrucci: Harmonice Musices Odhecaton A
    Les Flamboyants - Michael Form

  70. Raum Klang 2301
    Le Jardin de Plaisance
    Songs from Late Fifteenth-Century French Manuscripts
    La Morra - Michal Gondko & Corina Marti

  71. Raum Klang "Schola Cantorum Basiliensis" 2305
    Die Spinne im Netz
    Music from Nüremberg Prints of the 16th Century
    Musicke & Mirth

  72. Ricercar 306
    Agricola: Missa In myne zyn
    Capilla Flamenca - Dirk Snellings

  73. Riverrun 53
    Secrets of the Heavens
    Seven Hymns of Orpheus to the Planetary Gods
    Catherine King / Marini Consort - Mark Tucker

  74. Signum 025
    Master of Musicians
    Songs and instrumental music by Josquin Des Pres, his pupils and contemporaries
    Musica Antiqua of London - Philip Thorby

  75. Signum 039
    A Songbook for Isabella
    Music from the circle of Isabella d'Este
    Musica Antiqua of London - Philip Thorby

  76. Sony "Vivarte" 60760
    Agricola: A Secret Labyrinth
    Huelgas Ensemble - Paul Van Nevel

  77. Yarlung 05785 [CD]
    Music from the Court of Burgundy
    Ciaramella Ensemble – Adam Knight Gilbert & Rotem Gilbert, dirs.

Reissues

(or otherwise duplicated)

  1. Cantus 9607
    Vous ou la mort
    Canciones flamencas de amor cortés en el siglo XV
    Currende Consort / Capella Sancti Michaelis / Concerto Palatino - Erik van Nevel

  2. Cantus 9705/6 (2 CDs)
    Dictionary of Medieval & Renaissance Instruments
    Various Artists

  3. Deutsche Harmonia Mundi (BMG) 05472 77 608-2
    Century Classics IX 1400-1550
    Chanson der Liebe - Songs of Love - La Chanson galante
    Pro Cantione Antiqua & Schola Cantorum Basiliensis

  4. EMI Reflexe 64215 (2 CDs)
    The Art of the Netherlands
    Early Music Consort of London - David Munrow

  5. Eufoda 1160/69 (10 CDs)
    De Vlaamse Polyfonie
    Capella Sancti Michaelis / Currende Consort - Erik Van Nevel

  6. Naxos 8.554770 [CDx2]
    The World of Early Music
    Various performers and ensembles

  7. Naxos 8.558057 [CD]
    Leonardo da Vinci - Music of His Time
    Various performers

  8. Sony Classic SBG 7478442 [CDx15]
    A Secret Labyrinth
    A Celebration of Music from Middle Ages to Renaissance
    Huelgas Ensemble – Paul Van Nevel,dir.

  9. Sony "Classical" 82876-82812-2 [CD]
    Da Vinci
    Music from his time
    Various Ensembles - Van Nevel, Jaffee, Ruhland, dirs.

  10. Virgin Edition 7243 5 61334 2 6 (2 CDs; mid-priced)
    The Art of the Netherlands
    Early Music Consort of London - David Munrow


To Early Music FAQ