Antoine Busnoys (c.1430-1492) - 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

Antoine Busnoys (c.1430-1492), sometimes spelled Busnois, was the leading songwriter of the late Burgundian style. Along with his unique stature in the courtly chanson genre, Busnoys was at least partly responsible for important innovations in sonority during the Ockeghem era. Based perhaps on his own skill as a singer, Busnoys extended the range of individual vocal parts, and pioneered contrapuntal textures in which each part operates in its own range and without interference from others. His use of extended lines, and especially sequence & imitation, proved decisive for the next generation of composers. In this, Busnoys' music illustrates the trends of the mid-to-late-1400s most clearly, and indeed his formal schemes were the most imitated by other composers. That Busnoys' music is relatively unknown today is an accident not in keeping with his contemporary reputation.

Busnoys may have been born in Busnes, and although much of his career is documented in some detail, his early life and training remain a mystery. By the 1450s, he was associated with the French royal court in the Loire valley, and by 1465 he held a post at St. Martin of Tours where Ockeghem was treasurer. He moved immediately to a post at Poitiers, leaving there by 1466. By 1467 he was in Burgundy, first in loose association with the court, and then in formal positions from 1470. There, he must have accompanied Charles the Bold's huge retinue into battle, and continued to serve Charles' daughter's husband Maximilian of Austria until 1483. From that point, nothing is known of Busnoys' activity until the announcement of his death. Although Busnoys obviously became acquainted with very powerful people, his specific appointments tend to be of a relatively low grade and his benefices in out-of-the-way locations. In 1461, he was even excommunicated for beating a priest, although he was later pardoned. His image becomes that of a renegade, a brilliant man with little regard for established authority. However, his professional reputation must have been enormous, as even at the most obscure churches, when Busnoys arrived, singers of considerable reputation immediately followed.

This arrogance is felt in Busnoys' music as well. For instance, although he did write the motet In hydraulis (c.1467) in praise of Ockeghem, he implicitly praises himself as well. His name appears numerous times in his other works, where he delighted in all manner of symbolism and misdirection: acrostics, puns, numerology, notational puzzles, etc. Despite what might seem to be an overly self-conscious style, Busnoys' music was & is fabulously successful, nearly unrivaled for its command of sonority and texture. Busnoys left approximately 75 songs (mostly rondeaux, several virelais, and a few songs in other forms, including in Italian), 10 motets, a Magnificat, 2 mass cycles, and an isolated Credo. He is the most-represented composer in nine major chansonniers, with works surviving in nearly every European country. He apparently wrote at least two thirds of his chansons by the time he left Poitiers, and it is chansons which form the bulk of his reputation. However, although small in quantity, Busnoys' motets & masses may have been as influential. Besides the famous Pythagorean proportions of In hydraulis, the "bell" sounds of Anthoni usque limina show his skillful use of sonority. Some anonymous motets of the period may also be his.

Busnoys is closely connected to the l'homme armé theme, which was to become one of the most important tests of contrapuntal invention. Busnoys may have written the original tune, and his mass cycle may have been the first on the theme. He may even be responsible for the cycle of six l'homme armé masses surviving anonymously in Naples. The rhythmic scheme Busnoys used in his mass was among the most-copied of the era, and indeed his command of rhythmic syncopation is much of what animates his style. Busnoys' formal innovations proved to be very successful, blending an interest in imitation & triadic harmony into carefully organized arching lines divided by ostinato & cross-rhythm. Besides his musical inventiveness, Busnoys had a full-fledged reputation as a poet, with 3 poems surviving in purely literary manuscripts. The various references in his songs and motets mark him as perhaps the most erudite musician of his age, and it has been suggested that he had a university education. Whether true or not, Busnoys' body of songs remains the most intellectually imposing of its generation.

Todd M. McComb, 10/01

Discography

Original releases

(or first known)

  1. Accent 9176
    El Cancionero de la Catedral de Segovia
    Ensemble Daedalus

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

  3. Aeon 1226
    Plorer, Gemir, Crier...
    Hommage à La "Voix d'Or" de Ockeghem
    Diabolus in Musica - Antoine Guerber

  4. Alamire LUB 03
    Magister X
    An Introduction to Polyphony
    Capilla Flamenca - Dirk Snellings

  5. Alvarès C 811 [LP]
    Musiciens à la cour de Bourgogne
    Anon., 15th c. - Morton et Hayne
    Ensemble Guillaume de Machaut de Paris

  6. Amon Ra 56
    The Brightest Heaven of Invention
    Flemish Polyphony of the High Renaissance
    New London Chamber Choir - James Wood

  7. Arcana A301
    The Whyte Rose
    Poétique anglo-bourguignone au temps de Charles le Téméraire
    Ferrara Ensemble - Crawford Young, dir.

  8. Archiv Produktion 2533 404 [LP]
    Busnois: Missa "L'homme armé" / Binchois: Motetten-Motets
    Pro Cantione Antiqua, London - Bruno Turner

  9. Archiv Produktion 457 586-2
    Musical Book of Hours
    Pomerium - Alexander Blachly

  10. Argo ZRG 566 [LP]
    To Entertain a King
    Musica Reservata - Michael Morrow, dir.
    Purcell Consort of Voices - Grayston Burgess, dir.

  11. Argo ZRG 681
    Josquin Des Pres - John Dunstable
    Purcell Consort of Voices - Grayston Burgess, dir.

  12. Arion ARN 68130
    Noël en tous temps, en tous lieux
    La Maurache

  13. AS&V "Gaudeamus" 139
    Ockeghem: Missa Mi-Mi
    The Clerks' Group - Edward Wickham

  14. AS&V Gaudeamus 143
    Ockeghem: Missa Prolationum
    The Clerks' Group - Edward Wickham

  15. AS&V Gaudeamus 220
    Josquin: Missa Fortuna Desperata and songs
    Motets by Isaac, Senfl, Greiter
    The Clerks' Group - Edward Wickham

  16. Asteriamusica AMCD 0412 [CD]
    For the Love of Jaqueline
    Medieval Love Songs by Antoine Busnoys
    Asteria

  17. Auvidis Ibèrica (Naïve) AVI 8027
    Plaser y gasajo
    Música cortesana en tiempos del Papa Alejandro VI
    Capella de Ministrers - Carles Magraner, dir.

  18. Calliope CAL 1874 [LP]
    Guillaume Dufay: Hymnes, chansons et motets
    Musiciens à la Cour de Bourgogne
    Ensemble Guillaume de Machaut - Paris

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

  20. Calliope CAL 9408 [CD]
    L'amour de moy
    Chansons et improvisations de la Renaissance
    Josquin / Hayne / Busnoys / Bosfrin / De la Rue / Manuscrit de Bayeux
    Ensemble vocal et instrumental Obsidienne - Emmanuel Bonnardot, dir.

  21. Cantus 9633
    Non posso abbandonarte
    Canciones y danzas italianas, sec. XV-XVI
    Roberta Invernizzi / Accademia Strumentale Italiana - Alberto Rasi

  22. Centaur 3074
    Music for the Bentivoglio
    Unica and highlights from codex Q18
    Speculum Ensemble

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

  24. Christophorus 77353
    Le Maitre de "Fricasée"
    Secular Music of Jean Japart
    Les Flamboyants - Michael Form

  25. Christophorus 77360 [CD]
    Heinrich Isaac: Ein frölich Wesen
    Secular and textless music
    Les Flamboyants - Michael Form

  26. Classic Editions CE 1037 [LP]
    French Music of the Courts of Burgundy and Versailles
    Saturday Consort

  27. Club Français du Disque ??? [LP]
    Riches Heures des Ducs de Bourgogne - Music from the Court of Burgundy
    Ensemble Roger Blanchard et le Trio de flûte à bec Pierre Poulteau

  28. Collegium Musicum JE 116 [LP]
    In Praise of Women / Musical Metamorphoses
    Columbia University Collegium Musicum - Alexander Blachly, dir.

  29. Decca 153010 [LP]
    (title unknown)
    Consortium Antiquum

  30. 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.

  31. Dorian DOR 90 133
    A Renaissance Tour of Europe
    The New York Kammermusiker & Double Reed Ensemble - Ilonna Pederson, dir.

  32. Dorian 90184
    Busnoys: In hydraulis & other works
    Pomerium - Alexander Blachly

  33. Dorian 90301
    Music from the Odhecaton
    Piffaro

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

  35. Dorian 93225
    The Diamond of Ferrara
    Music from the Court of Ercole I
    Ex Umbris

  36. Emergo Classics 3954
    Antoine Busnois
    Kapel van de Lage Landen - Harry van der Kamp

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

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

  39. EMI (His Master's Voice) SLS 5049 (box) (LPs: OC 189 06202-4Q or ASD 3229-3231) [LPx3]
    The Art of the Netherlands
    The Early Music Consort of London - David Munrow

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

  41. Ex Cathedra 9003
    A Renaissance Christmas
    New York's Ensemble for Early Music - Frederick Renz

  42. Fonè 99F01
    Personent Hodie
    Middle Ages and the Mystery of Nativity - Les mystères de la Nativité au Moyen Age
    Ensemble Weltgesang - Cristoni, dir.

  43. Gavin Bryars Recordings 3
    Lockerby Memorial Concert
    Gavin Bryars / Hilliard Ensemble / Fretwork

  44. Glossa 31906
    Busnois: L'homme armé
    Cantica Symphonia - Giuseppe Maletto

  45. Gotham Recording « The French Broadcasting System in North America » GRC 4097 / 4098 [LPx2, 16 in., auto. coupling]
    Masterworks from France - Program no. 285 & no. 286
    Damase, Clairmon – Antoine de Busnes
    Various performers

  46. Griffin 2365
    Pastyme with Good Companye from Hampton Court Palace
    I Fagiolini / Forbury Consort

  47. Harmonia Art Center 399
    The Wedding of King Matthias & Beatrice, 1476
    Works from the Mellon Chansonnière
    Corvina Consort - Zoltán Kalmanovits

  48. Harmonia mundi HM 998 [LP]
    Jacob Obrecht - Missa Fortuna Desperata
    Clemencic Consort - René Clemencic, dir.

  49. Harmonia Mundi HMC 90 1279 [CD]
    Josquin: Adieu mes amours - Chansons
    Ensemble Clément Janequin / Ensemble Les Eléments - Dominique Visse

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

  51. Harmonia Mundi USA 907226
    Villon to Rabelais
    16th Century Music of the Streets, Theatres, and Courts
    Newberry Consort - Mary Springfels

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

  53. Harmonia Mundi USA 907333
    Busnois: Missa "O crux lignum" / Motets / Chansons
    Orlando Consort

  54. Harmonia Mundi HMU 90 7418 [CD]
    Medieval Christmas - Noël médiévaux
    Tenth- to Sixteenth-Century secular & liturgical music for Feasts days
    Orlando Consort

  55. Hilliard Live HL 1002
    For Ockeghem
    The Hilliard Ensemble

  56. Hyperion A 66183 [LP]
    Occelino
    Popular Music in Italy, c. 1500
    London Pro Musica

  57. Hyperion 67129
    A Marriage of England and Burgundy
    Binchois Consort - Andrew Kirkman

  58. Hyperion 67319
    Busnois: Missa L'homme armé / Domarto: Missa Spiritus almus
    Binchois Consort - Andrew Kirkman

  59. L'Oiseau Lyre D 186 D4 (LPx4)
    Le Chansonnier Cordiforme
    Consort of Musicke - Anthony Rooley

  60. L'Oiseau-Lyre DL254D3 [LPx3]
    Johannes Ockeghem - Complete Secular Music / L'oeuvre profane / Das weltliche Werk
    The Medieval Ensemble of London - Peter Davies & Timothy Davies, dirs.

  61. L'Oiseau-Lyre "Florilegium" 411 938-1 [LP]
    Josquin Desprez
    Complete 3-part Secular Music
    The Medieval Ensemble of London

  62. Le Chant du Monde LDX 8.180 81 [LPx2]
    Musique d'Autrefois
    Groupe vocal et Ensemble instrumental anciens - Chaillé, dir.

  63. Mandala MAN 4953
    Roncevaux: "Échos d'une bataille"- Roncesvalles: "Ecos du una batalla"
    Évocation musicale de la "Chanson de Roland" - Busnois, Byrd, Cabezón, J. Des Prés, M. Flecha, N. Gombert, H. Isaac, R. Morton, P. Phalèse, F. de Peñalosa, A. de Ribera, J. Vázquez, etc.
    Ensemble "Lachrimae Consort", Ensemble vocal "La Trulla de Bozes" - Philippe Foulon, dir.

  64. Metronome 1023
    Music for Mona Lisa
    Concordia - Mark Levy

  65. Metronome 1041
    Music and Art in Renaissance Florence
    Robin Blaze / Concordia - Mark Levy

  66. Musical Heritage Society MHS 4179 [LP]
    Johannes Ockeghem - The Motets
    Cappella Nova - Richard Taruskin, dir.

  67. Musique en Wallonie 1157
    Espris d'amour: Flemish Miniatures
    Capilla Flamenca

  68. Nonesuch H-71 247 [LP]
    Antoine Busnois
    Chansons
    The Nonesuch Consort - Joshua Rifkin, dir.

  69. Opus 111 30-221
    Armes, Amours
    Alla Francesca / Alta

  70. Pneuma PN-710 [CD]
    Música cortesana en la Europa de Juana I de Castilla 1479-1555
    Las Cortes europeas y los Cancioneros
    Musica Antigua - Eduardo Paniagua, dir.

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

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

  73. Raum Klang 2801
    Karl der Kühne und die burgundische Hofmusik
    Various Ensembles

  74. Ricercar 207572
    I Fiamminghi IV
    O admirabile commercium
    Brumel, Regis, Mouton, Josquin
    Cappella Pratensis - Rebecca Stewart

  75. Signum 004
    The Triumphs of Maximilian
    John Potter / Musica Antiqua of London - Philip Thorby

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

  77. Sony Vivarte 45860
    La Dissection d'un Homme armé
    Six Masses after a Burgundian Song
    Huelgas Ensemble - Paul Van Nevel

  78. Sony classical "Vivarte" SK 48065
    Italia Mia
    Musical Imagination in the Renaissance
    Huelgas Ensemble - Paul Van Nevel

  79. Stradivarius 33516
    Non e' tempo d'Aspettare
    Frottole dal Primo Libro di Franciscus Bossinensis
    Roberta Invernizzi / Accademia Strumentale Italiana - Alberto Rasi

  80. Studium Vocale
    Jean Molinet en de Bourgondische Musici
    Studium Vocale

  81. Titanic 202
    Motets by Busnoys, Josquin, and Gombert
    Capella Alamire - Peter Urquhart

  82. Titanic Ti-22 [LP]
    Music of Josquin des Pres
    The Boston Camerata - Joel Cohen, dir.

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

Reissues

(or otherwise duplicated)

  1. Archiv 445 667 (7 CDs)
    Sacred Music of the Renaissance
    Pro Cantione Antiqua - Bruno Turner

  2. Archiv Produktion 2523 070 [LPx6]
    Geistliche Musik der Renaissance
    Various performers

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

  4. Coro 16064 (4 CDs)
    Hilliard Live - The Collection
    The Hilliard Ensemble

  5. Deutsche Grammophon 453 477
    Sanctus
    Meditations for the Soul
    Various Ensembles

  6. Dorian 90009
    Angels of Antiquity
    Music from the Middle Ages to the Age of Enlightenment
    Various artists

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

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

  9. Harmonia Mundi "Century" HMX 290 8169 [CD]
    Du style gothique à la Pré-Renaissance / From gothic to Pre-Renaissance (1370-1460)
    Ars Subtilior / Dawn of the Renaissance
    Various performers

  10. Harmonia Mundi HMX 290 8183 (3 CDs)
    Missa
    Various composers and performers

  11. Klara "'t Vliegend Peert" 2003-1
    Liedekens rond de Zotte Schilders
    Various performers

  12. Naxos « Educational – Discover » 8.558170 / 71 [CDx2]
    Discover Early Music
    Various performers and ensembles

  13. Nonesuch H-1010 [LP, mono]
    Masterpieces of the Early French & Italian Renaissance
    Groupe vocal et Ensemble instrumental anciens - Chaillé, dir.

  14. L'Oiseau Lyre 436 194 (2 CDs)
    Ockeghem: Complete Secular Music
    Medieval Ensemble of London - Peter Davies / Timothy Davies

  15. L'Oiseau-Lyre "Florilegium" SPA 547 [LP]
    The World of Early Music
    Sampler
    The Consort of Musicke - Anthony Rooley, dir.

  16. Sony "Vivarte" 53966
    In musica Vivarte: musical selection from Huelgas Ensemble
    Huelgas Ensemble - Paul Van Nevel

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


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