The most famous composer in the world circa 1500 was the Flemish master Josquin Desprez (c.1450-1521) that served at the French court as well as in the papal chapel in Rome. Ars Nova Copenhagen conducted by Paul Hillier sings his greatest Mass “Missa Pange Lingua” - based on the Gregorian hymn Pange Lingua. Between the parts of the mass Paul Hillier has placed masterpieces of a similar nature. Either they use the same mode as the mass, the Phrygian mode, or at least echo the same melodic contours.
Three Motets by Poul Ruders (b.1949) is a masterpiece in contemporary vocal music. Fragmenta Passionis by German composer Wolfgang Rihm (b.1952) uses fragments of early polyphony dressed in modern, expressive clothes. Rim composed the piece at age 16 in 1968, but it was first premiered in 2012. The gentlemen are flanked by Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), the most prominent female figure of early music. Ars Nova performs her beautiful Phrygian hymn O Aeterne Deus.
With Phrygian Fragments Ars Nova Copenhagen and Paul Hillier demonstrate that there is still life in the old mode, inspired by the musical equivalent of a Flemish still life painting.