a modern state founded during the 19th century. Previously, the territory of
modern Belgium has a complex history of changing national boundaries. In musical
terms, it would probably be more instructive to use the term The Low
Countries for what is now Belgium, together with the Netherlands and
parts of north France.
During the renaissance, composers from the Low
Countries had a great influence on the development of polyphony from plainchant.
In 15th and 16th centuries composers and musicians from the Low Countries were
among the foremost in Europe, and they were much in demand in the courts
and churches elsewhere in Europe. Orlande
Lassus, who was born in Mons in 1532
and died in Munich 1594 composed both church music and secular madrigals. (His
name is often written in its Italian form, Orlando di Lasso). But in the baroque and
classical periods the music scene was dominated by French and Italian imports. In the romantic period, Cesar Frank emerges as a Belgian
composer of world renown.