Autumn of the Middle Ages: A Six-part History in Words and Music from the Low Countries, Part 1

Ghent Altarpiece: Five panels from the 24-panel masterpiece of Netherlandisch painting by Jan van Eyk (Notice the musician angels) ( © Wikimedia)

In de Middle Ages, the Netherlands played a very prominent role in European musical life. By “Netherlands” we mean the so-called “Low-Countries”, the regions along the North Sea which include the present-day Netherlands as well as Belgium. Both regions formed one whole which, in turn, was part of the Burgundian realm. In the 15th and 16th centuries Dutch composers from the southern Netherlands occupied positions of importance in the music ensembles of monarchs and princes and also as leading figures in the choirs of many European cathedrals. In the history of music this period is thus known as that of the “Dutch Schools”. These musicians became known as creators of impressive contrapuntal choral works on religious texts. But in this series, we present them also as composers of secular music, of songs and dances.

In this first part of the series we hear some of the earliest known music from the Netherlands, folk music by composers like Jacobus de Holandia and Hendrikus de Zelandia, the earliest days of the new polyphony, and the perennial pains and joys of love lost and gained. This music has been passed down to us in manuscripts dating as far back as the 12th century.

Presented by Robert Haslach.

Produced by Dr. Jos Wouters (script and project coordination) and Willem G. Van Maanen

Recorded by Radio Nederland Wereldomroep and released as a set of six LP’s for broadcast by our partner stations 27 January, 1976.
A large number of the pieces were performed by the internationally renowned Dutch early music group Syntagma Musicum.

B392101.01 Autumn of the Middle Ages : Programme 01 / 1976-01-27
Original recording music: B359599
00:00 Introductory Announcement by Nevil Gray
00:53 Robert Haslach
02:51 Het dunct mi wesen verre – (Anonymus) – Syntagma Musicum
04:12 Robert Haslach
04:47 Mijn hertze en can verblijden niet – Jan Moritoen, tenor
06:42 Robert Haslach
07:15 Die molen van Parijs – (Anonymus) – Syntagma Musicum
08:02 Robert Haslach
08:45 Et gaudebit – (Anonymus) – Syntagma Musicum
10:04 Robert Haslach
10:36 Kere dame – (Anonymus) – Syntagma Musicum
12:32 Robert Haslach
12:59 Or sus vous dormez trop – (Anonymus) – Syntagma Musicum
15:18 Robert Haslach
16:02 Fumeux fume – (Solage) – Syntagma Musicum
21:57 Robert Haslach
22:14 Bassa danza (Maistre Gulielmus) – Syntagma Musicum
23:28 Back announcement by Nevil Gray