Compiled by our Classical Music desk.
The music of the Middle Ages is far removed from us. But thanks to special ensembles, we can still enjoy it today.
Musical company Studio Laren, which existed from 1965 to 2000, concentrated entirely on mediaeval music. Of course, this is a very broad field, as the first written music dates back to around 800 AD. Between 800 AD and 1400 AD – the start of the Renaissance – music was made for every walk of life, for every occasion and to every national taste. And over the span of a 100 years, music could change beyond recognition.
In the year 2022, we are mainly familiar with Gregorian chant from the Middle Ages. But there is more, so much more. Polyphony, for instance. From the twelfth century onwards, more and more polyphonic music was put down in writing. Initially only for the church, but later also for the wealthy bourgeoisie, as they emerged in the late Middle Ages. The result is beautiful, but also somewhat bewildering. The harmonies and melodies do all sorts of things that were later banned. The music originates from Western Europe, mostly from France, yet it almost seems like music from another continent.
Fortunately, Studio Laren skilfully guides us through this. In two concerts from 1985, they perform the chants, motets, roundels, chansons and whatever else the polyphonic music of the time has to offer. The first concert is entirely devoted to the ars subtilior, a kind of fourteenth-century avant-garde musical style with a lot of chromaticism and/or complicated time signatures. The second concerto is more comprehensive and presents an overview of the entire medieval polyphony. Even the fifteenth century, which musically speaking already belongs to the renaissance, is covered.
As an encore you will hear some music from the 16th century. From 1550 onwards composers started experimenting again. In Orlando di Lasso’s Prophetia Sibyllarum we hear a kind of new ars subtilior, in which – for that period – extreme chromaticism illustrates the mysterious predictions of the Sibyls.
1. Solage – Fumeux fume
2. J’ay grant desespoir
3. Si Dardalus (Daedalus?)
4. Calestone (?)
5. Jehan Vaillant – Par maintes foy
6. Pierre de Molins – De ce que foul pense
7. Zolomina zelin (?)
8. Esperance tient ouverte la porte
9. Pour ce connoy
10. J’ay grant espoir
11. Guillaume Dufay – Magnam me gentes
12. Adam de la Halle – Or est bayard
13. Adam de la Halle – Robin m’ayme
14. Hareu li main d’amer m’ochist (13e eeuw)
15. Libera me
16. Psalle modulamini
17. Perotinus (?) – Mors
18. Organum de Monte Lapis
19. Sancti spiritus adsit
20. Kyrie Cunctipotens
21. Haec dies
22. Salve Regina
23. Beata progenitus
24. Rosa delectabilis
25. Orlando di Lasso – Carmina chromatico
26. Orlando di Lasso – Sibylla Persica
27. Orlando di Lasso – Sybilla Libyca
28. Orlando di Lasso – Sybillia Delphica
29. Orlando di Lasso – Sybilla Cimmeria
30. Orlando di Lasso – Sybilla Samia