ANY YEARS AGO, a professor of music history emerged in a state of agitation. Having just returned from a conference, she exclaimed: “I am so tired of being around these J. S. Bach specialists. All day long they argue about which type of pen Bach used to write his music. When it comes to my area—the Renaissance—we’re lucky to even know when a composer was born with any degree of certainty!”
Not much is known about the life of Philippe Verdelot, but one thing is certain: he was a master.
This piece opens with a 13th-century chant, then launches into polyphony: