Johannes Ciconia and Ars Subtilior : Bridging Machaut and Dufay

Johannes Ciconia was a Franco-Flemish composer, mainly active in Italy around 1400.  Born in or around Liège, a Flemish bishopric, he moved to Italy at a young age and remained there for his entire life.  In 1955 Heinrich Besseler suggested that the period between the death of Guillaume de Machaut in 1377 and the beginning […]

The Polyphonic Lais of Guillaume de Machaut : Overview + Recordings

Fourteenth-century France exhibits the effects of an era grappling for an identity through its language, poetry and music. Amidst intellectual rigidity and diurnal despair, this transitional period enfeebled by medieval traditions yet aspired to humanist artistry. Guillaume de Machaut, illustrious poet-composer in the medieval myth, offered a means of embellishing life through a variety of […]

Taking Liberties : Björn Schmelzer & Machaut’s “Messe de Nostre Dame”

The La Messe de Nostre Dame by Guillaume de Machaut has been called the most important polyphonic composition of the 14th century.  There are at least 35 recordings dating back to 1951, although most of those pre-1980 are hard to find and if found only available on vinyl. There appears to be general agreement now […]

Les Escholiers de Paris : Motets, Songs & Estampies of the Thirteenth Century

Ensemble Gilles Binchois, Dominique Vellard Anne-Marie Lablaude, Brigitte Lesne, Susanne Norin, Emmanuel Bonnardot, Willem de Waal, Pierre Hamon, Randall Cook In fact, with the royal family’s increasingly frequent visits to Paris and the development of the university, Paris became the focus of a vital flowering that attracted the greatest artists, musicians, scholars, and theologians to Europe’s leading cultural center. From all […]