Agricola: Instrumental Music

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

Agricola's secular music remains some of the most compelling of the era, particularly with its sinewy lines — as expertly handled by the instrumentalists here. Indeed, much is performed instrumentally, and with a rich timbral palette, especially from the strings. (It's the songs on which Agricola's material is based that receive a vocal treatment, — an excellent one, actually.) Agricola was adept at variations, i.e. different settings of the same theme, of which he left multiple examples, and that aspect is highlighted here as well.

Stylistically, many of the comments from this ensemble's Josquin disc also apply to the interpretation. There is great energy here, right from the opening, and (despite the many unknowns) this would also appear to be landmark material, specifically in the history of instrumental (ensemble) music.

The (post)modern compositions by Fabrice Fitch aren't exactly what I'd want included in a program of this sort, and they are rather different in style (i.e. much more contemporary), but they're enjoyable in their own way. (I actually do enjoy them, at least in moderation.)

Ultimately, this is an album that is simply easy both to enjoy & recommend. (If one doesn't want the three short contemporary tracks, program them out.... It's still a very substantial program as a "pure" medieval disc.)

To renaissance secular list

Todd M. McComb
Updated: 7 November 2017