Leuven Chansonnier

Leuven Chansonnier Vol. 1
Sollazzo Ensemble, Anna Danilevskaia
Passacaille PAS1054. 62’02

The Leuven Chansonnier was discovered in 2015 when an art historian approached the Alamire Foundation with a tiny (120x85mm) music book. It turned out to be a previously unknown 15th-century book of chansons. It has been dated to around 1475, and probably originated in the Loire Valley. It was purchased by the King Baudouin Foundation and loaned to the Alamire Foundation in Leuven. As there is no indication of original ownership or provenance, it has been called the Leuven Chansonnier. It contains fifty compositions, a Latin Ave Regina by Walter Frye and 59 French chansons, many of which were recognised as being by leading 15th-century Franco-Flemish composers such as Johannes Ockeghem. There are twelve previously unknown works, eight of which are included on this CD. Continue reading

Antwerp: Laus Polyphoniae 2019

Laus Polyphoniae 2019
Mary of Burgundy & The Burgundian Court
Antwerp, Flanders. 16-20 August

The 26th annual Laus Polyphoniae explored the flourishing cultural scene in the time of Mary of Burgundy (1457-1482), one of the most powerful women in Western Europe during the late Middle Ages. She came to power in the Netherlands in 1477, aged 20, but found that her father, Charles the Bold, had left an empty state treasury, hostile neighbouring countries and domestic revolts. Thanks to her diplomatic skills, the young Duchess managed to calm the situation, notably in Flanders. She was the most sought-after bride in Europe with many suitors, eventually marrying Maximilian of Austria, thereby linking the House of Burgundy to that of the powerful Habsburgs. She died in 1482, at just 25 years old after a fall from her horse. The week-long Laus Polyphoniae festival featured secular and religious music relating to Mary of Burgundy and her time, performed by ensembles from Belgium and abroad, including Stile Antico, Ensemble Leones, Comet Musicke, Utopia and Huelgas Ensemble. I was able to attend for most of the first five days, including the International Young Artist’s Presentation (IYAP) events on the first weekend.  Continue reading

Regensburg: Tage Alter Musik 2018

Tage Alter Musik Regensburg
18-21 May 2018

Seventeen concerts of early music in just four days is the promise of the Regensburg Tage Alter Musik festival. It is held annually over the Pentecost/Whitsun weekend, alongside non-musical Regensburg celebrations, including a beer festival and fairground that brings the local youth out in their distinctive Bavarian outfits. Tage Alter Musik takes place within the architectural and historic delights of this beautiful city on the Danube – the entire city centre is a World Heritage site. Venues for the concerts include austere Gothic, glittering Baroque/Rococo, and the historic Reichssaal in the Altes Rathaus, for centuries the permanent seat of the Parliament of the Holy Roman Empire. The weekend runs from Friday evening, with two concerts, followed by five concerts on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the latter including a concert that started at 00:15 in the morning!

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