Alexander Agricola: Qui est Ackermann II?

Gaudent in celis from Leopold Codex – better known as Caecus non iudicat de coloribus – CANTUS

I am personally drawn to Alexander Agricola´s music because of several reasons, so I started a list:

  • His playful way of placing cool (rythmical and/or melodical) patterns is just awesome. It is what we call “agri moments” and what made us laugh and smile so so much during the last year!
  • I love that he is somehow between the old (earlier 15th century, mostly 3 part) and later (early 16th century, 4 part) style. He uses both contratenores mixed and bassus. He uses fauxbourdon and the resulting cadences with double leading tones. Also the ct octave leap cadence, of course. I love to sing or play those so much! But he also uses “modern” cadences.
  • there are so many ficta “issues” or challenges in his music
  • he is one of the composers who engaged the most in my favourite genre: art song reworkings, the super creative and refined re-composing of a chanson, taking one or 2 parts and adding more parts to it, usually in fast note values.
Gaudent in celis from Leopold Codex – better known as Caecus non iudicat de coloribus – TENOR

  • the story and mystery of his childhood is fascinating for me: his mother lived in financial abundance on her own (in the 15th century!), his father does not appear in a positive light according to historical documents at all. but Jacob Obrecht was his neighbor, they probably developed their musical skillz as choirboys together. What a environment to grow up!
  • lastly because of the Fernandez Brothers… of course… Ferdinandus et frater eius were probably 2 blind brothers, academically and musically active and even famous by improvising on 2 vielles. They were active at the same court as Agricola in the last quarter of the 15th century and might have inspired him writing caecus non iudicat… and more mystery: Martin Lefranc also describes this constellation of musicians a few decades earlier. Are they the same? Or are they “only” an allegory or symbolic? No concrete answers here, of course, but the image of anyone improvising in caecus – style is really inspiring to me. there are a bunch of good recordings, ours coming soon, too!

Gaudent in celis from Leopold Codex – better known as Caecus non iudicat de coloribus – Contratenor (Bassus)

just sharing what we prepare with sféra and what we will co – create in spring 2022. a unique project of artistic research focussing on Alexander Agricola! if this catches you right away, please read more about it in the documents and write us

PS: it´s going to be a lot of fun!

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