Anonymous: The vast majority of works in early music did not have a composer's name attached and the first to add a name was Hildegard von Bingen- (1098-1179) Known for her scholarship as well as her music, she was one of the most important women of history and was an advisor to most political leaders of her time as well!  This is her Alleluia. 

Here are some fine examples of 15th century music whose author is unknown and usually not part of early music collections: 

Düdül  a march to Jerusalem -- Selection found in Albania

Kod Bethlehema 15th century Selection found in Damascus as used in Bethlehem

Nevestinko oro to christ 15th century  Selection found in Bulgaria

Koleda na Bozic Bagpipe to Jerusalem  Crusader’s march used in Eastern Europe


Jewish Music found in the Ghetto of Venice, 15th century:


Kol Nidre-V'nislach

Unesane Tokef Uveshofar Gadol

Shofar  Rams horn call to prayer


Music found in the Spanish court of the 15th century.  The lute part was recorded on a guitar.


Concierto Madrigal


Fanfare for King Frederick  (1534 - 1588) of Denmark and Norway from

(done with modern instruments)


Found in The French court:


Epitaphe de L’amant        

Dit Le Bourguignon


Here are some additional examples of important composers of the mid-renaissance:

Johannes Ockeghem (c.1425 - 1497) His most imposing works are his mass settings. Several are based on pre-existing material, sacred or secular.  Many of the numerous Masses of the period have a basis in a tune, often a popular song, which serves as a cantus firmus underpinning the structure. Often these melodies are stretched out in augmentation and hard to recognise without the scores or very expert ears. None of them is better known than the catchy L'homme armé, a street cry which warned against invasion. It turns up everywhere, and must be one of the best known of all medieval melodies.  It was used in compositions for two hundred years and is recorded here at the beginning of the selection:


 Missa L'homme arme Kyrie


Guillame Dufay (c. 1400-1474) Dufay's large musical output contains masterpieces in every genre from cyclic masses to isorhytmic motets, a piece where a specific rhythmic and pitch patterns are repeated throughout the piece, to simply ornamented hymns and dramatic cycles. Acknowledged by his contemporaries to be the leading composer of his day, Dufay held positions in many musical centers of Europe; his compositions were copied and performed wherever polyphony was practiced.

           Sanctus from Missa l'homme arme         Ce jour de l'an         Absalon, fili mi       Urbs betaa Ierusalem


Josquin Des Pres: (c. 1440-1521) was without a doubt the most versatile and gifted composer of the mid-Renaissance. Both Luther and Bach considered him the greatest composer in history.

Allegrez-moy     Tu pauperum refugium     Ave Maria     Kyrie     Ma Maitresse      El Grillo      Fanfare "Vive le Roi"


Heinrich Isaac (c.1450-1517) He was one of the most prolific composers of parody masses, using such unusual themes as "bass dances." This is a secular selections: Carmen secularis       Morte Che Fai


Orlando di Lasso (1532-94) Lasso's music, especially his chanson’s  was among the most widely circulated and beloved musical works of sixteenth-century Europe" However, is not simply Lasso's music that is important but also his reception by French Protestants. The Huguenots, like other listeners throughout Europe, found Lasso's music highly expressive.

Lamentatio Secunda      Quand mon mar     Je l'aime bien       Missa L'homme arme: Kyrie    Motet: Tristis est anima mea


Jacob  Obrecht (1450-1505) Franco-Flemish composer, perhaps the only Dutchman among the important contemporaries of Josquin Des Prez.

         Ricercare a tre      Tssat een meskin


Johannes Tinctoris (c1436 - 1511) He was the most important theorist of his time, writing twelve treatises of which two were printed.

         Missa trium vocum:  Kyrie    Sanctus


Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c.1526 - 1594) was immensely famous in his day and on his tomb is written "Savior of Church Music" -  

        from the P. Marcelli Mass  Credo  Gloria


Luca Marenzio (c. 1553-1599) was one of the greatest, the most successful of all madrigal composers.  

       Scaldava il sol          Madonna sua mercè         Amatemi mio ben      Madrigal: Solo e pensoso


Thomas Weelkes (c1576 -- 1623) was one of those who combined the writing of sacred and secular music: he was organist of Winchester College and Cathedral, and wrote services for them; but he is best known for his collections of madrigals, some of which are daring in their harmonic experiments.

        Hosanna to the Son of David       O Lord, arise


John Dowland  (1562-1626) composed both words and music for lute songs. His Lachrymae, a collection of dances, was particularly popular. He spent several years as Court lutanist for King Christian IV of Denmark before returning to a Court appointment for Charles I in London.

         Lachrimae Pavan   Air: Flow, my tears  The Frog Galliard


Thomas Tallis (1505 - 1585) served as an organist for four English monarchs, including in the Royal Chapel. Together with his most famous student William Byrd, he obtained a monopoly right from Queen Elizabeth I for the publication of vocal music.

       Lamentations  His famous Canon 


William Byrd (1543 - 1623) was the leading English composer of his generation, and together with his continental colleagues Giovanni Palestrina and Orlando de Lassus, one of the acknowledged great masters of the late Renaissance.

        Pavane for 6 viols   Pavana Lachrymae   Sing joyfully unto God     


Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) is considered one of the most powerful figures in the history of music. He published nine books of secular madrigals which draw on Monteverdi's experience as an opera composer. Orfeo was the first opera to reveal the potential of this then novel genre.  Arianna (of which only the famous lament Lasciatemi morire survives) may well have been responsible for Opera’s survival.

         Lasciatemi morire    Madrigal Chiome d'oro      Madrigal Zefiro


 Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) was very important for the development of violin-playing, Even Johann Sebastian Bach is said to have deferred to him, and he is considered one of Antonio Vivaldi's greatest influences.


        Christmas Concerto  Trio Sonata, Op. 3, No. 2  


Thomas Morley (1557-1602) was a versatile musician and publisher. He composed both religious and secular music (he was organist at Saint Paul's Cathedral), and wrote a treatise on counterpoint, A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musick (1597); in addition, the work provides some information about the way music was performed at the time

       Madrigal Daffodil