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16th-century work resurrected for city concert.

Byline: Richard Duckett

WORCESTER - A Renaissance music Mass setting inspired by a courtly love song of the 16th century, and the French chanson itself, will be performed for what may be one of the first times in hundreds of years during a concert at 7:30 tonight by Capella Alamire at All Saints Church, 10 Irving St.

"To my knowledge it hasn't been performed since the 16th century," said Peter Urquhart, founder and director of Capella Alamire, about Franco-Flemish composer Noel Bauldeweyn's "Missa Du bon du cueur," one of the works in tonight's program titled "The Legacy of Jean Mouton."

"It's just a winner," Urquhart said of Bauldeweyn's composition. "It's good all the way through." The themes are complex, not antiquated, but it is a "happy piece," he said.

Capella Alamire explores and performs musical works of the Renaissance. Urquhart, who is also associate professor of music at the University of New Hampshire, said researching works that may not have been performed in centuries has been facilitated recently by institutions, especially European libraries, putting manuscripts online. However, for Bauldeweyn's Mass, Urquhart had to attain a copy of a manuscript from the Bavarian State Library in Munich. The music is in old notation. "There's no modern edition anywhere," he said.

In fact, the manuscript does not even have the composer's name. Not a lot is known about Bauldeweyn (circa 1480-1513), but he was a singing master at the prestigious St. Rombouts Cathedral in Mechelen (in modern day Belgium) from about 1509-1513 and his music was distributed in Europe.

In 2001, musical scholar Bernadette Nelson attributed composition of the Mass to Bauldeweyn. Others had thought that the author was Josquin des Prez, a much more famous composer of the time. But Urquhart said that he agrees with Nelson, based in part on comparisons with other works by Bauldeweyn.

Meanwhile, "It's clear who it is based upon," Urquhart said of "Missa Du bon du cueur."

That would be the chanson "Du bon du cueur" by French composer Jean Mouton (1459-1522).

The chanson was popular and influential, and Mouton (who was at the court of two French kings) was also a more widely known composer than Bauldeweyn. However, Urquhart said that he thinks the chanson "also hasn't been heard (in recent times), although people know about it. I've never heard a recording of it."

Capella Alamire consists of 10 singers (six men and four women) from Boston, New Hampshire and All Saints Church. "We sing from a big choir book, a facsimile we constructed on the model of the original (manuscript) from Munich. We sing from one big music stand," Urquhart said. The singers will be joined by The Alamire Consort, a small ensemble that plays period instruments, which Urquhart also directs.

Mouton's "Du bon du cueur" is a simple but beautiful work, Urquhart said. It is a very high toned, courtly love song between "a courtier and his beloved - unattainable as always."

A $10 donation is suggested to benefit the joint April tour of the choirs of All Saints and Notre Dame Academy to Ireland.

ART: PHOTO

CUTLINE: Peter Urquhart, founder and director of Capella Alamire.

PHOTOG: SUBMITTED PHOTO
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Title Annotation:LIVING
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Oct 26, 2012
Words:526
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