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 A delicate, colourful and unique collection of songs by the two best composers of the time 
Of all musical forms, song is the one that has the most to teach us concerning courtly tastes and customs. Song was a daily pleasure, a vehicle for poetry, an art that enhaced life to the same degree as tapestry and painting. An intimate art, song expressed human passions and served as a remedy for the pain caused by them; song sublimated and catalyzed the ambiguity and infinite variety of love.

Song is a small, a miniature form. It can create an atmosphere, express a mood or a feeling. It is a social art, involving conviviality and complicity among the singers and between singers and listeners. In this, it is an art for the initiate, the connoisseur. Song is a soothing art that charms the sensitive ear with its intimate blend of music and poetry, fascinating the mind with its technical refinement.

Guillaume Dufay (Du Fay) and Gilles Binchois (de Binche) belong to a tradition of lyric song that began with the troubadours almost four centuries before. They represent at the highest level that delicate balance between technical discipline and poetic lyricism. In the eloquent words of the great 15th century music theorist Joahnnes Tinctoris, "the works of Egidius Binchois and Guillermus Du Fay are infused with such sweetness that to my mind they should be taken not as men or even as heroes, but as inmortal gods".

Both men succeeded, as Machaut had the century before, in setting poetry to completely ravishing melodies, in matching the rhythm of the words with just the right notes and phrases to create the appropriate atmosphere. The joy of a new year beginning is described in a beautiful rondeau as Ce jour de l'an, the sweet recollection of love in Mon cuer chante, the nostalgia for a distant place in Adieu ces bon vins, despair (Comme femme desconfortee), piercing, overwhelming pain (Par droit je puis), veneration for the Virgin Mary (Vergene bella). The music goes beyond the mere words, providing the quintessence of the poetic meaning through the relationship between poetry and sound on the deepest level: a ballade like Resveilles vous or a rondeau like Triste plaisir render up their secrets to us, thorugh the instruments on which they are performed.

As it has been the norm with Ensemble Gilles Binchois over the years, this CD is a refined example of the performing arts of one of the most famous and awarded early music ensembles in the world. Abandone your senses to this arresting music and enjoy a delicate, colourful and unique journey that will take you to the joys and the pains described by the chansons of the best composers of the time.


Ensemble Gilles Binchois

  • Dominique Vellard, direction
  • A.M. Lablaude, voice
  • B. Lesne, voice, harp
  • D. Vellard, voice, lute
  • E. Bonnardot, voice, fiddle
  • Ph. Balloy, voice
  • P. Hamon, recorders
  • R. Cook, fiddle
  • G. Lartigau, 15th c. organ

Morei nformation on the production details

Duration 56:44

48-pages booklet with articles by A.-M. Lablaude/D. Vellard, and J.C. Cabello.

Recorded at Eglise Saint Victor de Poiseul la Ville, Côte-d’Or (France), November 1987

Engineering Dominique Matthieu

Digital editing Translab

Producer Marie-Pierre Brun

Cover Roger van der Weyden, 'Antoine de Bourgogne', Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels

    ✋ Please adjust first the VOLUME control on the SPEAKER ⇓ before playing ▶
    Dufay: Ce jour de l'an
    Dufay: Belle, que vous ay je mesfait
    Dufay: Par droit je puis
    Dufay: Resvellies vous
    ✋ Please adjust first the VOLUME control on the SPEAKER ⇑ before playing ▶
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