Luc Ponet: In organis et in discantu

"In organis et in discantu". Organ Interpretation and Organists’ Practice in the Principality of Liège (B) in the First Half of the 17th Century.

Luc Ponet

  • Research Unit Music & Drama
  • Research Group Perfromance Practice & Composition

A music manuscript from 1626 (MS Berx), discovered in 2003 and known as the "Tongeren Organ Manuscript", contains previously unknown, authentic arrangements for the organ of Magnificat Settings by Orlandus Lassus (1532-1594). Besides organ works of the early 17th century organists Trofeo Ruggiero and Francesco Rovigo, the 45-page manuscript includes intabulations of Orlandus Lassus, including the well-known French chanson "Margot laborez les vignes".

This music raises fascinating questions about organists’ practice in the first half of the 17th century in the prince-bishopric of Liège, a region that was recognized  as a leading religious-artistic-cultural biotope. Many musicians from Liège (singers, organists, and composers) received prestigious appointments at prominent European courts.  This gave rise to a fruitful interaction between the Liège musical practice and the European musical culture.  The impact of musicians from Liège on Europe was particularly significant. Examples include Simon Lohet in Germany, Henry Du Mont in France, Matheo Romero in Spain and Léonard de Hodémont in Italy.

Along with the "Liber Cruciferorum Fratrum Leodiensium" (Liège, 1617) and "Le grand livre de choeur de Saint-Lambert" (Liège, between 1619 and 1633), the Tongeren Organ Manuscript, with its implicit indications concerning interpretation, rhetoric and expression, is a unique source of information on historically informed performance practice. The relationship between notation and instrument, singer and organist, word and tone, contributes to a specific identity: "between Gregorian chant and polyphony".  This creates a new understanding of the relationship between organ art in the Principality of Liège and that of other European regions.

  • Supervisor: Jan Papy
  • Co-Supervisor: Carl Van Eyndhoven
  • Duration: 2012-16
  • E-mail: l.ponet@skynet.be

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