Music in Bruges

Over the coming months there will be four blog posts for each city on the Davis High School Baroque Ensemble’s 2020 England-France Tour tour: Place of Interest; Concert Venue; Music; History of the city. This week’s post, the eleventh of the series, is on Franco-Flemish Renaissance Music in Bruges.

Angel Musicians, Hans Memling c.1485

Angel Musicians, Hans Memling c.1485

The heyday of Bruges was the 15th century, both in art and music. Flanders had few painters of composers during the Baroque period, and even fewer baroque buildings. ‘Belgium’ came into being as a country in 1831, made up of the Flemish-speaking Flanders in the north, and French-speaking Wallonia to the south – so for the purposes of this blog there are no ‘Belgian’ composers or artists.

Music – Franco-Flemish music from mid 15th century.

Tylman Susato: 


Josquin des Prez:

Orlande de Lassus:

Art – Flemish artists from the 15th century include Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, and Roger van der Weyden.

Ghent Altarpiece, Jan van Eyck, 1432

Ghent Altarpiece, Jan van Eyck, 1432

Music – Franco-Flemish composers in the Baroque period include:

Jean Baptiste Loeillet of London, cousin of JBL of Ghent, was successful as a player and teacher of the harpsichord, also born in Ghent. He played woodwind in the Queen’s Theatre in the Haymarket, London, and held musical gatherings every week at his home. His works were published in London under the name of John Loeillet. His performances were well received; and he was responsible for introducing Corelli’s 12 Concerto Grossi to Londoners.

Joseph dall’Abaco cellist and composer was born in Brussels, and worked primarily in Italy. He wrote some  40 cello sonatas and the 11 Capricci for Violoncello Solo, and other works. Many of his compositions were written in Baroque style despite himself living a very long life well into the Classical era of Haydn and Mozart:

Jean-Joseph Fiocco was born in Brussels, and is well known for a single piece – ‘Allegro’, for solo violin (Suzuki, Book 6):

Art – Franco-Flemish Artists in the Baroque Period

While there were few composers in Flanders during the Baroque period, there were a large number of artists – the most well known 17th century artists are: Jan Brueghel the Younger, Anthony van Dyck, Peter Paul Rubens, and David Teniers the Younger.

Massacre of the Innocents, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, c.1610

Massacre of the Innocents, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, c.1610



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