Music for the 100 Years' War: The Binchois Consort, conducted by Andrew Kirkman

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance


Music in late medieval England enjoyed a degree of international influence unknown in subsequent English music until the Beatles. But much of this music, transmitted across Europe during the period of its currency, is at best more known about than known, and many of the most significant pieces of the time were almost entirely unfamiliar even to most scholars of this repertoire before I began to perform and record them with the Binchois Consort. In resurrecting this music in sound, the concern, moreover, has been to place it as closely as possible in its local context, by way of the construction of interlocking programmes, but above all by relating the music to contemporary ritual and social contexts and to the traditions of other contemporary artefacts. Hence even when choosing to programme relatively familiar pieces, the aim has been to set them in contemporary contexts unfamiliar not just to modern listeners but also to historians. This recording hence incorporates original scholarly research on the performance and social performance context of music from late medieval England. More particularly, it involves a close comparative study of the common devotional currency and performance contexts of late medieval English polyphony and alabaster carvings, both of which circulated throughout Western Europe, in the context of a vivid display of the remarkably diverse range of music associated with the 100 Years’ War. Original editions were produced incorporating English Latin pronunciation of the period. This has then fed into experimentation with pronunciation in concerts and recordings, aiming thereby to maximise the connections to what we can unearth of contemporary vocal timbres. The liner essays exemplify and support this research in combining commentary on music, on the related visual imagery (examples of which are included in the materials) and the nature of their interaction in their original settings. It thus combines cutting-edge historical and cultural research not simply in words but also—in what I believe to be a compelling scholarly synergy—also in sound and image.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherHyperion Records
Media of outputCD
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

CD recording with sleeve notes


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