The Franco-Flemish composer, Johannes Ockeghem, sang at Antwerp at the Bourbon court before joining the French royal chapel in 1451. Ockeghem spent most of his professional life at the French chapel and his output was quite prolific. He composed 14 settings of the Mass, including one of the earliest polyphonic versions of the Requiem. Ockeghem also composed numerous motets and secular songs. He was one of the most original voices in early Renaissance polyphony and his music dazzles with its ingenuity and beauty.
Nicola Porpora, a contemporary of Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, and Haydn (and a very young Mozart) is best remembered today as a famous singing teacher and opera composer. During his long career (he lived to age 81) he suffered many employment-related difficulties and disappointments that caused him to move frequently. Naples (where he was born), Venice, Dresden, and Vienna (where he taught Haydn) all enjoyed Porpora's reputable presence, and he even spent a period in London at the behest of a group seeking to unseat Handel and his opera company from its preeminent position. In addition to his operas and vocal music, Porpora wrote instrumental works such as the six violin sonatas featured here, which are drawn from a set of 12. Although anyone familiar with Italian Baroque and early Classical-style solo violin music will discover nothing particularly original on this generally fine recording, if you enjoy that genre and period you'll find much here to indulge and satisfy your taste.
Les Contes du Singe Fou (roughly translated, Tales of the Mad Monkey) is a progressive rock album by Clearlight, released in 1976 on Isadora Records in France. Returning again to France, Clearlight turned to conceptual space rock with science fiction lyrics. (The lyrics do not have anything to do with a mad monkey, however.) Les Contes du Singe Fou is the only Clearlight album in which vocals and lyrics play a significant role. In reverse of the previous album, the title is in French, but all lyrics are in English. This is not apparent from the cover, which contains no song titles on the outside. English Lyrics with French translations are printed on the cover's gatefold. Musically, the album contains psychedelic, new age, and jazz fusion elements.