Philippus de Monte and William Byrd
In 1554 and 1555, Philippe de Monte travelled to England with the Court Chapel of the Habsburg Emperor, where he undoubtedly met William Byrd. Byrd was one of the most famous English composers of his time, who acquired fame with virginal music, masses and motets. As far as known, De Monte never returned to England afterwards.
However, the composers did stay in touch: almost thirty years later, in 1583, De Monte sent Byrd the eight-part motet Super flumina Babylonis as a sign of friendship. De Monte, who usually composed large quantities of music, thus proved that he had been active in the motet genre too.
Stile Antico revives this musical friendship in a programme dedicated to both composers. This young British ensemble shines at the top of the polyphonic music.
Voices of Passion – autumn 2021
A multi-vocal anniversary
2021 is an anniversary year for polyphony. The Alamire Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2021. As centre of excellence at KU Leuven and creative ambassador of the City of Leuven, the Foundation has invested in research and valorisation of Gregorian chant and polyphony from the Low Countries since 1991. 30CC and Alamire have intensely and happily worked together for 30 years to let this unique heritage be heard in churches and abbeys.
After the opening concert of the festival with English music from one of Pierre Alamire’s manuscripts, the focus shifts to the second half of the 16th century. In 1521, Philippe de Monte was born in Mechelen, where he was probably educated as a choir boy in St Rumbold's Cathedral. His flourishing career brought him to Italy, England, Vienna and Prague, where he died in 1603. He was one of the most productive composers of his time, with no less than 1200 madrigals, 300 motets and 40 masses.
Voices of Passion seizes the opportunity to give this lesser-known master the attention he deserves.