Renaissance Voices

interpreted by Paul Van Nevel



documentary - 52’ - Digital Betacam - 2001

director: Sandrine Willems


Paul Van Nevel shares the melancholia and earthy tastes of the Renaissance and has been performing the music of the period for many years. He combs libraries for forgotten compositions and insists on reading the original scores, finding nuances which guide his interpretations. But he is also insatiably curious about the concrete realities of Renaissance life.

He takes us back to a world in which time moved more slowly, although lives were shorter, and the dead kept watch over the living, where dreams held sway and children saw mountains and marvels wherever they looked, when the age of exploration was still dawning and the ‘landscape’ still taking shape.

When Van Nevel contemplates the Franco-Flemish landscapes into which all the great contrapuntists were born, he sees their compositions reflected. Through him the hills and valleys suddenly start to sing Gombert, Manchicourt or Lassus and we become once more the dreamers of another age.


Paul Van Nevel

Paul Van Nevel was born in Hasselt (Belgium) in 1946.
On leaving the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in 1971, he founded the Ensemble Huelgas, which he has conducted ever since. Initially this ensemble played a great deal of contemporary music, but later concentrated on medieval and Renaissance works.
Paul Van Nevel is regularly invited to conduct other well-known musical ensembles such as the Collegium Vocale and the Nederlands Kamerkoor.
He has also written a number of articles and books on the music of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, including Nicolas Gombert et l’aventure de la polyphonie flamande, a book aimed at non-specialist readers.
He teaches notation and interpretation at the Amsterdam Conservatoire.
He received the prestigious Prix in Honorem of the Académie Charles Cros in 1994, the Diapason d’Or in 1996, and the German recording industry’s Echo Prize in 1997.



Interviews with

Paul Van Nevel, Marie-Claude Vallin, Ignace Bossuyt, François Sabatier, Philippe Contamine.


The Huelgas Ensemble plays works by

Dufay, Lassus, Desprez, Agricola, Manchicourt, Gombert, Pipelare, Richafort.




written and directed by Sandrine Willems

image Ella van den Hove

sound Eric Chabot

editing Monique Rysselinck

sound editing Jean-Jacques Quinet

production assistant Patricia Kilesse

consultant Leen Ochelen

producer Benoît Peeters

in association with

CBA Kathleen de Bethune

Canvas Regine Clauwaert

Alizé Production Bernard de Launoit

coproduction : Les Piérides - CBA - Canvas - Alizé production





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