Mon souverain desir

Gilles Binchois: Mon souverain desir
Ensemble Gilles Binchois, Dominique Vellard, dir.
Virgin Veritas 45285


  1. Triste plaisir et doulereuse joie (voice, lute, recorder)
  2. Amours mercy de trestout mon pooir (3 voices)
  3. Je me recommande humblement (pipe & tabor, rebec, vielle, lute, harp)
  4. En regardant vostre tres doulx maintien (voice, harp)
  5. Se la belle n'a le voloir (3 voices)
  6. Je vous salue, ma maistresse (voice, vielle, lute)
  7. Adieu mes tres belles (recorder, 2 vielles)
  8. De plus en plus se renouvelle (voice, lute, vielle)
  9. Lune tres belle, clere lune (voice, harp)
  10. Les tres doulx yeux du viaire ma dame (2 voices, vielle)
  11. Amoreux suy (pipe & tabor)
  12. Adieu, adieu, mon joieulx souvenir (voice, 2 vielles)
  13. Jamais tant (2 vielles, lute)
  14. Adieu, m'amour et ma maistresse (3 voices)
  15. Dueil angoisseux, rage desmesuree (voice, recorder, vielle, harp, lute)
  16. Pour prison ne pour maladie (voice, lute, vielle)
  17. Filles a marier / Se tu te marias (4 voices, pipe & tabor, harp, rebec)

Ensemble Gilles Binchois

Anne-Marie Lablaude (soprano), Lena-Susanne Norin (mezzo-soprano), Akira Tachikawa (countertenor), Dominique Vellard (tenor, lute), Emmanuel Bonnardot (baritone, vielle), Pierre Hamon (recorder, flute, pipe & tabor), Randall Cook (vielle, rebec), Jan Walters (harp), Miriam Anderson (harp)

Playing time: 60'

Recording date: October 1996 and May 1997

Nathan Wilkes

A program devoted entirely to Gilles Binchois (c.1400-1460) is certainly welcome, and long-awaited. It would be nice to have a program devoted to Binchois' fairly extensive sacred output as well.

Gilles de Bins, known as Binchois, was born in Mons south of Brussels to a family of privileged background. He was in France early in his career, and then took up the leading position at the court of Burgundy. At the time, this was the most eminent court in Europe, and Binchois' position gave him pride of place. Indeed, his songs from the 1420s-40s survive more widely and in greater number than those of Dufay from that period. Many anonymous songs of the period are also thought to be by Binchois.

Binchois' songs are highly elegant and refined, eschewing much of the more outgoing quality which characterizes Dufay. They are overwhelmingly in three parts, with the upper part given prominence. In addition, Binchois makes use of many passing dissonances in ways his contemporaries rarely did.

Binchois set songs of many of the leading figures of the time, including Christine de Pizan (track #15), Charles d'Orleans, and Alain Chartier (tracks #1, 4, 16). The centrality of Binchois' output has long been overlooked in popular surveys, although it has been acknowledged in musicological surveys. Beyond this, the sheer quality and stunning beauty of his songs makes them an incomparable body of music.

Important recordings by the present ensemble devoted to music in this style:

Triste plaisir et douleureuse joye
Binchois / Dufay: Ballades, Rondeaux, Lamentation
Ensemble Gilles Binchois - Dominique Vellard
Harmonic 8719
Le Banquet du Voeu, 1454
Music at the Court of Burgundy
Ensemble Gilles Binchois - Dominique Vellard
Virgin Veritas 59043

Other recordings devoted to Binchois:

Joye - Les plaints de Gilles de Bins dit Binchois
Ensemble Graindelavoix - Björn Schmelzer
Glossa 32102
L'Argument de beauté
Polyphonies sacrées de Gilles Binchois
Discantus - Brigitte Lesne
Aeon 1096
Binchois: Chansons, Missa Ferialis, Magnificat
Clemencic Consort - René Clemencic
Musique en Wallonie 0209

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Todd M. McComb