Autumn of the Middle Ages: A six-part history in words and music from the Low Countries, Part 3

This programme is part of the series Autumn of the Middle Ages
Page from the Gruuthuse Manuscript ( © Koninklijke Bibliotheek Den Haag)

In the Middle Ages, the Netherlands played a very prominent role in European musical life. By “Netherlands”, we mean the so-called Low Countries, the region along the North Sea which includes the present-day Netherlands as well as Belgium. Both countries 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. The music they produced is known as the Dutch School, and the composers gained fame as creators of impressive contrapuntal choral works on religious texts. But in this series, we present them also as composers of secular music, including songs and dances.

In this third programme of the series, we offer a further selection of late medieval music from the Low Countries, the Burgundian Netherlands. The music is performed by Studio Laren, founded in 1964 and inspired by the work of medieval scholar Marijke Ferguson. Studio Laren was the first ensemble to record music from the Gruuthuse Manuscript. This invaluable document, now in the possession of the Royal Library in The Hague, is one of our only sources of written Middle Dutch. But as you can hear in this programme, the songs of the various composers are sometimes sung in Dutch, and sometimes in French, the language of the ducal court.

Presenter: Robert Haslach

Producers: Dr. Jos Wouters (script and project coordination) and Willem G. Van Maanen

Recorded by Radio Nederland and released this recording as a set of six LPs for broadcast by our partner stations on January 27, 1976. Many of the pieces were performed by the internationally renowned early Dutch early music ensemble Syntagma Musicum.

  • Titel (?) – (Gruuthuuse Manuscript, Anonymus)
  • 02:39 Wi willen van den kerels zingen – (Gruuthuuse Manuscript, Anonymus) – Studio Laren
  • 05:57 Ick sag een scuurdeur openstaan – (Gruuthuuse Manuscript, Anonymus) – Studio Laren
  • 08:25 Mourir me voy – (Reginald Liebert) – Studio Laren
  • 10:58 He, compagnons, resvelons nous – (Guillaume Dufay) – Studio Laren
  • 13:19 Resvelons nous, resvelons amoureux – (Guillaume Dufay) – Studio Laren
  • 14:23 Je me complains piteusement – (Guillaume Dufay) – Studio Laren
  • 17:18 l’ Homme arme – (Anonymus) – Studio Laren
  • 18:18 Franc coeur gentil – (Guillaume Dufay) – Studio Laren
  • 20:41 Basse danse: La danse de cleues – (Anonymus) – Studio Laren
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