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Music occupied a prominent place in the bubbling atmosphere of mid-13th century Paris. From all provinces "escholiers" (students) flocked to the universities and colleges in order to study with the most learned and renowned teachers of their day, thus responding to the city's artistic and intellectual ferment. Music nourished all layers of society: not just the cultivated and privileged, but also the common people. Is it then any wonder that our own century's musicians and audiences are fascinated by late 13th century Parisian musical life? The formal and stylistic diversity of the songs, motets or instrumental pieces recorded in this CD reveal the dramatic colours of the Middle Ages with their unusual harmonies, catchy tunes and elegant lines.

Multi-awarded Ensemble Gilles Binchois proposes in this recording a recital of Northern French music of the 13th century, characterised by the use of certain musical forms, such as the motets (polyphonic pieces in which every part carries its own text), the refinement of the secular songs and the infectious and vital rhythms of the instrumental pieces. And they perform all this music with their highly unique and recognisable style: elegance and clarity of the vocal lines, imaginative and colourful combinations of instruments and unlimited knowledge of the performance practices of the day. Their experience of many years in this repertoire pays off results in the naturalness and transparency of their style, the effortless character of their vocal renderings and the sensuality of the sound of their instruments. The marvellous engineering contributes to create a magical atmosphere in which all the passions and drama of the 13th-century Paris are recreated in a fascinating collection of pieces that will seduce even to those who have never had any contact with medieval music at all.


Ensemble Gilles Binchois

  • Dominique Vellard, director
  • A.M. Lablaude, voice, percussion
  • B. Lesne, voice, harp, percussion
  • S. Norin, voice
  • D. Vellard, voice, gittern
  • E. Bonnardot, voice, rebec, medieval fiddle
  • W. de Waal, voice, recorder
  • P. Hamon, recorder, flutes, bagpipes
  • R. Cook, medieval fiddle, shawm, recorder


Total time 63:12

86-pages booklet with articles by A.-M. Lablaude and D. Vellard, W. de Waal and J.C. Cabello, and 40 illustrations

Recorded at Eglise Saint-Germain, Grancey-le-Château, Côte-d’Or (France), October 1992

Recording Dominique Matthieu

Editing M.C.2 Chevreuse, Yvelines

Producer Michel Swierczewski

Cover Missale de Reims, 13th c., National Library of Russia, Saint Petersburg, Russia


10 de Répertoire (Répertoire, Francia)
Choc du Mois (Le Monde de la Musique, Francia)
Un événement exceptionnel (Télérama, Francia)
Recommandé du Mois (Classica, Francia)
*****/***** (Hi-fi & Video, Francia)
“E” de Excepcional (Scherzo, España)
R ***** (Ritmo, España)
***** (Diapason, Francia)

    ✋ Please adjust first the VOLUME control on the SPEAKER ⇓ before playing ▶

    Cele m'a tolu la vie / Lonc tens / Et sperabit - Anónim
    Ave deitatis / Cele m'a tolu la vie / Lonc tens / Et sperabit - Anónimo
    N'en puis ma grant joie celer - Anónimo

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