Between about 1400 and 1550, musical life in Europe was dominated by five generations of musicians born and formed in a well-defined geographical area generally described by musicologists as franco-flemish. From this area emanated the overwhelming majority of the musical elite of the Renaissance – illustrious composers and musicians, recruited at great expense by wealthy patrons right across Europe. The southern part of this area, Picardy, was a rich pool of talented singers and composers. The cathedral and collegial churches of Amiens alongside the Picard church chapters pursued a general musical education for choirboys who, if they showed any natural musical talent, could become professional musicians, either in their churches or – greatest prize of all – by being recruited to the private chapels of the grandest of European rulers. With five composers from different generations, and of varying status, this programme of religious music conveys a relatively comprehensive survey of what 16th-century musical life in the churches of one of the most musically well-endowed French provinces might have been.
Odhecaton made its debut in 1998 and has won many prestigious prizes for its recordings, reflecting critical recognition of the group’s having pioneered a new interpretive approach to the performance of polyphonic music. Their core repertoire encompasses the work of Italian, French, Flemish and Spanish composers of the 15th century.