Cluny: La Vierge

Cluny: La Vierge
Chants de Pierre le Vénérable
Ensemble Venance Fortunat - Anne-Marie Deschamps
L'Empreinte digitale 13109


  1. Candida virginitas
  2. Preconia virginis
  3. Gabrieli, celesti nuntio
  4. Rosa flagrans
  5. Orbis totus
  6. Kyrie I
  7. Kyrie II
  8. Benedicta sit beata Maria
  9. Agnus Dei / Qui sedes
  10. Agnus Dei / Omnipotens
  11. Mater misericordie
  12. Sicut sol
  13. Salve porta Dei
  14. Templum pudicie
  15. Ave virgo singularis
  16. Agnus Dei / Cujus ad imperium

Performers: Dominique Thibaudat (soprano), Claire Baujard (soprano), Isabelle Herlicq (soprano), Françoise Levy (mezzo-soprano), Adrian Brand (tenor), Bruno Renhold (tenor), Patrice Balter (baritone), Gabrile Lacascade (baritone); Claire Couprie, Florence Drevon, Agnès Herlicq, Sabine Malavialle, Marianne Rozensztroch, Aude Sonntag, Nadine Vallette (chorus)

Playing time: 50'

Recording date: April 1999 (Abbaye de Valloires)

The music of this program comes from the important manuscript BNF lat 17716, representing the Cluniac style of liturgical chant. It is sometimes dated to 1189, although some aspects suggest a somewhat later date. Although this music is contemporaneous with some of the most important sources of early polyphony, it remains monophonic and distinctively unaccented. This is very spun-out, mystic chant from around the end of the period in which chant could be seen as "new."

This music is attributed to Pierre "le Vénérable" de Montboissier, sixth Abbot of Cluny. At that time, this was one of the most important Church posts, as Cluny itself housed 400 monks and was in charge of governing more than 2000 houses reaching into Asia. Among his many deeds, Pierre offered shelter to fellow composer Peter Abelard in 1140. He is also credited as the primary man to bring Islamic learning to the Catholic West.

The present program highlights the songs to the Virgin. The earlier program by the present ensemble, devoted to the Transfiguration, uses some relatively more complicated textures:

Cluny: La Transfiguration
Chants de Pierre le Vénérable
Ensemble Venance Fortunat - Anne-Marie Deschamps
L'Empreinte digitale 13091

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Todd M. McComb