Program: #20-07 Air Date: Feb 03, 2020
A compilation from the Ensemble Gilles Binchois, chant from the time of Bernard of Clairvaux, and music from medieval Finland and Sweden.
I. Bernard de Clairvaux—Chants of the Cistercians (Ensemble Officium/Wilfried Rombach). Christophorus CD CHE 0217-2.
Ensemble officium presents a programme of Gregorian chant and early polyphony in celebration of this controversial saint.
Included are songs by and about Bernard of Clairvaux and Gregorian chorales on the texts of the Song of Songs, which are closely linked with his theology.
[Invitatorium] Domine, labia mea aperies
[Hymnus in festo S. Bernhardis] Bernardus inclytis
[Jubilus rhythmicus de nomini Jesu] Jesu dulcis memoria
[Responsorium] Filiae Jerusalem
[Responsorium] Quam pulchra es
[Responsorium] Electa mea
[Responsorium] Et dilectus meus
[Responsorium in Nativitate] Verbum caro factum est
[Motet] Salve virgo nobilis/Verbum caro/Et veritate
[Responsorium] Ecce iste venit; [Responsorium] Quae est ista
[Responsorium] Surge, propera
[Motet] Anima mea/Descendi in hortum/Alma redemptoris mater
[Responsorium] Vox turturis; [Organum] Sancte Bernarde
[Hymnus in festo S. Bernhardis] Bernardus, doctor inclytus
II. Voix du Ciel (Ensemble Gilles Binchois/Dominique Vellard). Evidence CD EVCD065.
Declaring their love to the most beautiful sacred songs of History and weaving the bond between past and present: this is the purpose of the Ensemble Gilles Binchois in this compilation that reflects the past forty years spent in recordings and musical researches, that all met success.
True forerunners, tireless pioneers, the Ensemble offers here a musical overview of the richness of a wide repertoire that extends to almost 8 centuries of music, up to the Mediterranean and the Flanders, and even India and Iran.
Conducted by Dominique Vellard, the Ensemble Gilles Binchois, celebrating its 40th birthday in 2019, established as a true reference in the sacred repertoire.
With this double disc, it sets up a discographic pantheon of the musics that forged our history.
It has been a contentious issue how instruments may have played a part in early medieval music. On the whole, English groups – the Binchois Consort, Gothic Voices and the Orlando Consort, to name but three – have preferred the a capella approach. Continental groups have favoured instrumental participation. They based their thinking on the fact that sections of songs from the 14th and 15th centuries, for example, often involved long, untexted melismas – they play those instrumentally. Using instruments in the Spanish music of Alfonso el Sabio seems to make sense, and manuscript illustrations seem to suggest the case. The bonus for us listeners is an added interest and added colour. But what about sacred music, and what do you think about purely instrumental motets?
The Notre Dame school pieces and the extract from Isaac’s Mass and Ockeghem’s Requiem are sung a capella but the Mass movements from the Barcelona and Apt manuscript pieces (they date from the time of the papal schism) liberally use string instruments: sometimes behind a solo voice sometimes behind a vocal ensemble. The pacing of the performances is considered, even leisurely. I often like that approach. If one knows the recording of the Barcelona Mass by the group Obsidenne on Opus 111 (OPS 30-130), one will hear in contrast a strongly paced and firmly directed rendition. Sometimes, however, as in the troped Agnus from the Barcelona Mass, Vellard’s reading seems to amble along without much sense of propulsion, and loses interest.
Not all of the music is old. The three pieces from the disc Cantica Sacra are by Dominic Vellard himself: Beatitudes for two female voices and two Requiem movements, one for men and one for women. The harmony is austere, close and often dissonant, but clearly there is an influence of the very earliest polyphony, say from the Notre Dame School with the slow harmonic motion but with ornamented top lines.
This double album offers a good opportunity to discover the best of this outstanding ensemble. The booklet comes with full texts in the original French and English. (The translations are fine, except that I do not care for ‘Tu nobis dona expectata bona’ as ‘give us the goods we are expecting’!) There is a general essay by Vellard about the ensemble and some of the music. Photographs in black and white and in colour show the group then and now. There is also a list of all of the performers involved in each of the featured discs.
2. Nas mentes [1.52]
3. Eno nome de Maria ]5.12]
4. Sola fusti [2.21]
5. Salvatoris hodie [12.51]
6. Repons: et valde [7.39]
7. Mater regis angelorum [5.19]
8. Ut queant laxis [3.49]
9. Adoremus in aeternam [6.01]
10. Les Beatitudes [9.54]
1.Requiem: Introit [5.58]
2. Requiem: Graduel [3.56]
3. Gloria [6.20]
4. Alleluia (plainchant) [1.42]
5. Beata Viscera [6.52]
6. Agnus Dei [3.29]
7. Jocundare plebs fidelis [4.35]
8. O Maria maris stella/ O Maria des cella/Veritatem [1.28]
9. O Maris Virgo davitica /O Maria dei cella/ Veritatem [1.36]
10. Benedicaus Domino [4.56]
11, Kyrie avec trope “Humano generi” [7.07]
12. Colla jugo/Bona condit [2.39]
13. Agnus dei (Barcelona) [3.25]
14. “Imperatrix/O Maria [2.11]
15. Ave Maris Stella [2.37]
16. Johannes OCKEGHEM (d.1497) Offertoire; Requiem [9.08]
III. Mare Balticum Vol. 2—Medieval Finland and Sweden (Ensemble Peregrina/Agnieszka Budzinska-Bennett). Tacet CD S 248.
The series provides an insight into the local literature and musical repertories of medieval Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany, and Poland; both Latin and the vernacular are represented, as well as the diversity of historical musical instruments used in those regions at the time.
The project aims to show something of the strong political and cultural connections between these medieval countries, their development over time, and the similarities between them, all of which are essential to our understanding of the common identity and history of Balticum, as is reflected to us through its centuries of music.
Ensemble Peregrina is one of the leading ensembles dedicated to the performance of early medieval vocal music. The core of the ensemble comprises Agnieszka Budzinska-Bennett, Kelly Landerkin, Lorenza Donadini, Hanna Jarvelainen and Baptiste Romain, often joined by other excellent musicians such as Benjamin Bagby.
|1||Jesus Christus Lunastajam’||anonymus||2:46|
|3||Ave maris stella||anonymus||2:29|
|5||Iesus Christus nostra salus||anonymus||
Birgitta of Sweden(c.1303-1372)—Cantus soriorun
|6||Summe Trinitati V. Prestet nobis gratiam||anonymus||2:37|
|7||Sicut spinarum V. Assiste spes nostra||anonymus||2:49|
|8||Perenniter V. Overe dilectionis||anonymus||2:58|
|9||Palluerunt V. O immensam charitatem||anonymus||4:25|
|10||Maria Maria tocius||anonymus||1:24|
|11||Benedicamus Domino suam matrem||anonymus||1:16|
Henry of Finland (Åbo Gradual, 14th-15th Cen. & Piae Cantiones).
|Cetus noster letus esto||anonymus||3:23|
|13||All. Pie presul||anonymus||1:54|
|14||Ramus virens olivarum||anonymus||6:43|
Swedish Saints—Birgitta, Elin, Eskil (14th - 15th cen.).
|15||All. O sponsa Cristi||anonymus||2:08|
|16||Olim spinas V. Dum luxit Suecie||anonymus||1:52|
|17||Gaude Birgitta canticum||anonymus||1:02|
|18||All. O doctrix ewangelica||anonymus||2:14|
|19||Felix parens Vesgocia||anonymus||2:26|
|20||All. Helene Vesgocie||anonymus||1:27|
|21||Rosa rorans bonitatem||anonymus||1:26|
|22||Olla mortis patescit||anonymus||4:17|
|23||O Jumalan caritza||anonymus||1:23|
Bernard of Clairvaux, Alfonso el Sabio (1221-1284), Heinrich Isaac (C.1450-1511), Johannes OCKEGHEM (d.1497) ,
Christophorus CD CHE 0217-2, Evidence CD EVCD065, Tacet CD S 248,