LA MAGDALENE The cult of Mary Magdalene in the early 16th century
Graindelavoix Björn Schmelzer
Graindelavoix Björn Schmelzer
Olalla Alemán, Patrizia Hardt, Silvie Moors, superius Yves Van Handenhove, Marius Peterson, Paul De Troyer, Lieven Gouwy, Björn Schmelzer, tenor Thomas Vanlede, Arnout Malfliet, Antoni Fajardo, bassus
Jan Van Outryve, lute & cittern Floris De Rycker, lute & renaissance guitar William Taylor, harp Thomas Baeté, viol Liam Fennely, viol
Total playing time 76:27 Recorded at Sint-Pauluskerk, Antwerp (Belgium), in December 2008 Engineered and produced by Manuel Mohino Executive producer: Carlos Céster Art direction: Valentín Iglesias Booklet essay: Björn Schmelzer English Français Nederlands Deutsch Español
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The cult of Mary Magdalene in the early 16th century
I. AD MISSAM Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena by Nicolas Champion (c.1475-1533), plus plainchant
II. CHANSONS DE LA MAGDALENE Anonymous: O waerde mont Pierre Blondeau: La Magdalena, basse danse Anonymous: Maugré danger pompera Magdalene Claudin de Sermisy: Joyssance vous donneray Anonymous: Se j’ayme mon amy Anonymous: Tous nobles cueurs, venez...
About this CD
In early 16th-century Catholic Europe the figure of Mary Magdalene was the subject of intense veneration and composers of sacred choral music – and of chansons too – were heavily involved in celebrating the saint. But it appears that the figure of Mary Magdalene then celebrated represented three different women, and following the writing of a controversial treatise by Jacques Lefèvre d’Estaples, the Liège-born musician Nicolas Champion composed a beautiful Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena incorporating a number of different cantus firmi and, apparently, reflecting Lefèvre’s thesis.
Björn Schmelzer of Graindelavoix has ventured into the complex web here of historical information – concerned with religion and art history as much as with music – in order to bring forth a wholly compelling performance of the mass (persuasively embellished), related chansons and Parisian plainchant. Although little-known today, Nicolas Champion was a contemporary of composers such as Josquin Desprez, Pierre de la Rue and Alexander Agricola and this recording marks a significant step forward in his modern-day recognition.
In what is set to be a career-defining opportunity for Graindelavoix, Glossa’s Antwerp-based ensemble, along with its director Björn Schmelzer, is joining forces with choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker and her company Rosas for a new music and dance production Cesena which will have its world première performance at this year’s Festival d’Avignon in France. On July 16 the medieval Cour d’honneur of the Palais des Papes – the meeting point of the Old and New Papal Palaces – will provide the setting at the time of 4.30am for an interpretation in sound and movement of the rhythmically and harmonically complex 14th century musical repertory known as the Ars subtilior (strongly associated with the Papal Court in Avignon). [read more...]
For the ensemble Graindelavoix’s fifth recording for Glossa, Cecus, Björn Schmelzer has gathered together musicians from Spain, Estonia, the UK, France and Belgium to complete a triptych of recordings presenting an alternative view of performance practice from across a century of Franco-Flemish polyphony. After Joye and La Magdalene, Cecus focuses on music by Alexander Agricola and his contemporaries and concerns itself with music associated with blind players (notably two fiddlers from Bruges) and memory and commemoration (laments on the deaths of Agricola and Johannes Ockeghem) coming from the chapel of Philippe le Beau and Juana of Castile. [read more...]
With only their third CD Björn Schmelzer and Graindelavoix have just secured two of the awards at this year’s Klara-Muziekprijzen ceremony, held at the start of November in the group’s native Belgium.
Poissance d’amours – released by Glossa – was selected by the awards jury of the classical music radio station Klara for the best Flemish production of the year and also by the station’s listeners for the Public prize for 2008.[read more...]
“Making these old, broken stones sing is a wonderful experience”
Following Caput and Joye you are now turning to another area of the medieval musical world. What has inspired you to consider 13th-century Brabant?
After trying to show two important 15th-century composers in a different musical light, I thought it would be interesting to do a programme which is more geographical yet at the same time more “virtual”: one based only on musical remnants, traces and ruins. In this way we might try and create the sound world of an entire region: rather than producing portraits one would be able to paint full landscapes of scenes hitherto lost and in need of being invented anew. [read more...]