Francesco Antonio Bonporti (1672-1749)
Bonporti was an Italian composer, violinist, and priest. Bonporti may have studied with the Italian violin virtuoso and composer Arcangelo Corelli. His music is full of imaginative harmonies, lively part writing, and an unusual concentration to melodic detail. J.S. Bach copied out some of Bonporti’s Inventions. For a long time, four of Bonporti’s Inventions were attributed to J.S. Bach. Recent scholarship has shown that the inventions Bach copied out are actually by Bonporti.
Here is a recording of a motet by Bonporti. It features a soprano, Ellen Hargis, and Ensemble Ouabache.
Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986)
Maurice Duruflé was a French composer and organist. He didn’t write very many works. Duruflé is most well known as a composer for his Requiem. He was also a well known performer on the organ and toured internationally.
Duruflé’s four motets are based on gregorian chants taken from the Liber Usualis (a book of prayers, lessons, and chants for important offices used in the Roman Catholic Church). The motets are written in a modal style because the chants themselves were written in modes (these are old scales that were used in church music in the Middle Ages and Renaissance period and folk song long before major and minor scales and modern harmony existed in music).
Here is a recording of Maurice Duruflé’s four motets performed by the Laurens Collegium in Rotterdam. The conductor is Wiecher Mandemaker.
John Dunstable (1380-1453)
John Dunstable was an English composer of polyphonic music (a style of music which consists of two or more relatively independent musical lines that sound simultaneously). Dunstable was active as a composer from the late medieval period until the early Renaissance. He was very well known as a composer in England and across Europe.
The motet Sancta Maria by Dunstable is full of triadic harmony (chordal harmony) and sounds quite modern for its time. A lot of music back then was based on modes (early scales), and harmony as we now know it didn’t exist at that time. The main musical line in the motet is taken by the Tenor voice.