Chantilly Codex

Ars Magis Subtiliter
Secular Music of the Chantilly Codex
Ensemble Project Ars Nova
New Albion 021


  1. Johannes Symonis: Puisque je suis fumeux (ballade; voice, vielle, corno muto)
  2. Jehan Suzay: Pictagoras, Jabol et Orpheus (ballade; voice, lute, vielle)
  3. Pierre des Molins: De ce que foul pense (2 vielles, lute)
  4. Anon: A mon pouir (lute, vielle)
  5. Anon: Medée fu en amer veritable (ballade; voice, lute, vielle)
  6. Goscalch: En nul estate (lute, vielle)
  7. Solage: Fumeux fume par fumée (rondeau; voice, 2 vielles)
  8. Anon: Ha, fortune (lute, vielle)
  9. Baude Cordier: Tout par compas (rondeau; voice, 2 vielles)
  10. Grimace: A l'arme, a l'arme (virelai; 3 voices, vielle)
  11. Machaut: Quant Theseus / Ne quier veoir (ballade; 2 voices, 2 vielles)
  12. Baude Cordier: Belle, bonne, sage (lute, 2 vielles)
  13. Jean Vaillant: Par maintes foys (virelai; 3 voices)
  14. Pierre des Molins: De ce que foul pense (ballade; voice, lute, corno muto, vielle)
  15. Fransiscus Andrieu: Armes, Amours / O flour (ballade; 3 voices, lute, vielle)

Performers: Michael Collver (countertenor, corno muto), Shira Kammen (vielle), Laurie Monahan (mezzosoprano), Crawford Young (lute), Peter Becker (tenor), Randall Cook (vielle)

Playing time: 61'

Recording date: July 1987 (Wellesley, MA); released: 1989

The Chantilly Codex, apparently compiled shortly before 1400, is easily the most famous manuscript of the Ars Subtilior. The bulk of the works apparently date from c.1370-95, with the possible exception of Baude Cordier's famous "puzzle" rondeaus added at the beginning of the manuscript. It has been suggested that Cordier (fl. 1384-1398) was the editor for the codex. The primary locations at which this music was written were the courts of the Antipope in Avignon and of Foix, both in southern France.

The items in the manuscript include some songs dating back to Machaut and his contemporaries, and then later pieces for which Machaut's most elaborate songs apparently served as inspiration. The rondeaus of Cordier are notated in the shape of a circle (track #9; canonic) and a heart (track #12) and represent this style at its most obscure.

Other introductory Ars Subtilior programs, each with a rather different performance style:

Balades a III chans
de Johan Robert "Trebor" & al.
Ferrara Ensemble - Crawford Young
Arcana 32
Ars Subtilior
New London Consort - Philip Pickett
Linn 039
Febus Avant!
Music at the Court of Gaston Febus (1331-1391)
Huelgas Ensemble - Paul Van Nevel
Sony 48195
Codex Chantilly
Airs de Cour du XIVe siècle
Ensemble Organum - Marcel Pérès
Harmonia Mundi 901252
Codex Chantilly
En l'amoureux vergier
De Cælis - Laurence Brisset
Aeon 1099
Medée Fu
Ballades & Ballate - Musica francesa e italiana de finales del siglo XIV
Tritonus XIV
Verso 2005

And the first in a series devoted to covering the full Codex Chantilly:

Codex Chantilly 1
Bibliothèque du Musée Condé 564
Tetraktys - Kees Boeke, dir.
Etcetera 1900

Two all-instrumental recitals, the latter including a broader range of material:

En seumeillant
Trio Subtilior
La mà de guido 025
Medieval improvisations for a Postmodern Age
Dorian Discovery 80155

A program devoted mainly to Solage, the most-represented composer in the Chantilly Codex:

The Unknown Lover
Songs by Solage and Machaut
Gothic Voices
Avie 2089

And a program emphasizing continuity of this repertory with that of the early 15th century:

Beauté parfaite
L'Automne du Moyen Age - Chansons des XIVe et XVe siècles
Alla Francesca
Opus 111 30-173

This complex style was also highly developed at the French court in Cyprus, surviving by chance in one large manuscript. Two recordings:

The Island of St. Hylarion
Music of Cyprus: 1413-1422
Ensemble Project Ars Nova
New Albion 038
Music from the Court of King Janus at Nicosia (1374-1432)
Huelgas Ensemble - Paul Van Nevel
Sony 53976

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Todd M. McComb