Office for Elizabeth of Hungary by Pierre de Cambrai / Antifona: Gaudeat Hungaria / Responsorium: Sub Conrado Dei viro / Responsorium: Ante Dies exitus Responsorium: Cui nec apex / Responsorium: Tante signa glorie Un chant renvoisie / Decantatur / Volek syrolm thudothlon
The first in a trilogy of recordings exploring religious, social and political discourses around 13th century music sees Björn Schmelzer and Graindelavoix set off on a journey across Europe, reflecting on the medieval working world of the artist Villard de Honnecourt who was responsible for a collection (still in existence) of drawings made in connection with the new Gothic cathedrals then being built. The travels of Villard took him from Cambrai to Vaucelles and Reims, and then across Germany, Switzerland and Hungary and in this first volume, Ossuaires (ossuaries being receptacles for holy relics), the lines of this journey unite medieval Northern France and Hungary: musical treasures performed here concentrate on an Office for Saint Elizabeth by Pierre de Cambrai and Volek syrolm thudothlon (an example of an early Hungarian poem being set to music from France). The characteristic and imaginative approach of Björn Schmelzer, along with his Graindelavoix singers, stands back from preconceived notions of how such medieval music may have been sung, and aligns itself instead more with the working practices of artists such as Villard de Honnecourt (examples of the draughtsman's work are included in the CD booklet), medieval and modern artists embellishing and improvising, combining and recycling their materials from a practical perspective.
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