Le Champion des Dames
A musical praise of women, with works by composers of the 15th century Burgundy.
In the book dedicated to Philip the Good, ‘Le Champion des Dames’, the poet Martin le Franc (ca. 1410 – 1460) maintains that music and rhetoric reached its greatest perfection through the works of various 15th century musicians, especially of those at the court of Burgundy. In this programme, successive generations of musicians at the service of the Burgundian dukes will be presented.
The first group, active in the early 1400s and still showing traces of the late Ars Subtilior, count with Grenon, master of the choirboys of John the Fearless, Tapissier, court composer to John and his son Philip the Bold, for whom Cordier served as harpist and organist and Vide as a choirboys instructor; the generation of contemporaries of Le Franc, Pierre Fontaine, court singer, followed by Binchois and Du Fay, composers who according to ‘Le Champion des Dames’ embraced a new imported technique for making songs more gracious and sweet (which he referred to as la contentance angloise). Finally, Flemish composers active during the second half of the 15th century and connected to Charles the Bold’s court, Ockeghem, Ghiselin and Van Ghizeghem, who adopted the Burgundian style but slowly freed it from the late-medieval forms, giving way to the Renaissance polyphony of the 16th century.
Drawing upon medieval, classical and contemporary traditions in the humanistic fashion, Martin le Franc recounts through the voice of the Champion of Ladies (or Free Will) an allegorical dream on the effects and demands of love. Defending the virtues of women, he interweaves the poem with mythological and historical stories of women, to finish with the epitome of womanhood and love in a theological defense to the Virgin Mary.
Line-up: 5-7 Musicians
- 3-4 singers
- 2-3 fiddles
- organ/ portative organ
Dufay, Binchois, Cordier, Tapissier, Ghizeghem, Ghiselin
-Women in music