Renaissance MTV

January 31, 2011

If you have ever gone trolling through YouTube looking for good quality video related to medieval or Renaissance music, you know that your chances of success are comparable to your chances of lottery-winning. Usually the best you can hope for is audio from a studio recording joined to still photographs. Very occasionally you’ll find concert footage.

I was delighted, therefore, to discover this video from a Flemish group called Capilla Flamenca. They have actually made an MTV-style music video for one of Alexander Agricola‘s fifteenth-century chansons, titled In myne zyn (To my delight). The quality is high, and it is hilarious to boot.

(Hat-tip: The Rest is Noise)

4 Responses to “Renaissance MTV”

  1. Christina A. Says:

    Dear Craig,

    Thanks for sharing this unusual and nice sounding recording.
    MTV-style? Seriously? You haven’t been watching much MTV lately!
    I’m not sure about the hilarity either since it’s a pretty sad video.

    I don’t know about Alexandre Agricola – just that Agricola sounds like latin for “Farmer” and that the song was in some sort of old german or dutch or flemish. It’s nice to hear vernacular music from the late-middle ages since we are usually limited to latin mass settings and hymns.

  2. cburrell Says:

    Yes, I believe it is sung in Dutch or Danish or some such language. Maybe Flemish, if that was a language. His name does mean ‘farmer’, as you say, but Alexander himself was not a tiller of earth. He is one of the lesser known composers of his time, but his music is great, if idiosyncratic. I’ve heard a few pieces of sacred music from him that were quite bizarre.

    I’ve actually been interested in Capilla Flamenca’s recording of his Missa In Myne Zyn, the music of which is based on the chanson in the video. After seeing this video (and hearing the good quality of the singing) I think I am going to get it.

    What? You didn’t find it funny? Not funny in itself, perhaps, but funny when set against the conventional MTV ethos.

  3. cburrell Says:

    Oh, and if you’re looking for something a little closer to real MTV fare, I think you’ll appreciate this mad medieval parody.

  4. Christina A. Says:

    L-O-V-E the Aquinas video!

    Had beer with an Aquinas scholar on Friday, didn’t realize we were celebrating!

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