High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

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The Art of Give and Take. Musical Relations between England and Flanders from the 15th to the 17th centuries
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The Art of Give and Take. Musical Relations between England and Flanders from the 15th to the 17th centuries

(Ignace Bossuyt) The Low Countries - 1993, № 1, pp. 39-50

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The musical relationship between England and Flanders from the 15th to the beginning of the 17th century can be graphically portrayed as a monumental arch linking two massive pillars. The first pillar represents the early 15th-century 'frisque concordance' of Dunstable and his contemporaries, which formed the foundation for the new art of the Flemish polyphonists. The second pillar symbolises English keyboard music from about 1600, which blossomed in the Low Countries in a period when vocal polyphony had exhausted itself and new and different influences were badly needed. The great arch symbolises the high point of polyphony between c. 1440-c.1600 during which the Flemings influenced a large part of Europe. It was a matter of give and take, ranging from general trends to purely personal contributions, in a period riven by political, religious and social unrest.

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