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Llibre Vermell / Millenarium

Millenarium / Namur Chamber Choir / Psallentes
Release Date: 02/12/2008 
Label:  Ricercar   Catalog #: 260   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  AnonymousGradual of Ali AnonymousXavier TerrazzaRoman de Fauvel
Conductor:  Christophe Deslignes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Namur Chamber ChoirMillenarium
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



Early Music


EL LLIBRE VERMELL Christophe Deslignes, dir; Millenarium; Namur CCh; Psallentes; Les Pastoureux RICERCAR 260 (79:30 Text and Translation)


“The Red Book,” as it is known from its 19th-century binding, is the only volume that survived when Montserrat abbey was burnt by Napoleon’s troops in 1811, but only because its borrower had not returned it (and his heirs only sold it back to its rightful owners in 1885). It includes a unique collection of 10 Read more songs, intended to be sung and danced by pilgrims who came to venerate the reputedly miraculous statue of the Blessed Virgin and child that had been displayed there since the late 12th century. The collection has been recorded at least 21 times, in addition to single songs done many times over. The first piece is a chant antiphon (sung in canon) in unique Catalan chant notation, but the rest are Ars Nova in style. Two of them are brief canons, while the remaining seven (two set to vernacular texts) are strophic in structure. The first two recordings under Thomas Binkley and Jose Luis Ochoa de Olza (both later on CD) included generally one strophe of each song; since then, most songs have been recorded complete except Mariam matrem virginem , for which all five strophes are included only in this and two other known recordings (four of the complete sets have not been checked). Jordi Savall (13:3) was the first nearly complete recording, lacking only two strophes of Mariam matrem virginem . Next was Berry Hayward, who performed the two vernacular pieces only instrumentally. Philip Pickett (16:4) dragged everything out to 70 minutes without fillers or the two missing verses of the same hymn. Brigitte Lesne (18:6) offered the best version since Savall, matching his panoply of performing forces including children. Ensemble Micrologus on Discant 1008 was recorded uniquely at the abbey of Montserrat and furnished the first complete version of the same hymn. Carlos Magraner on Licanus 0201 also offered that hymn complete.


Now Christophe Deslignes, like the last two, brings together a variety of performers to elicit the ambiance of a gathering of pilgrims celebrating their devotion. There are 20 tracks here, the other 10 tracks offering an opening procession of pilgrims, five Gregorian chants, and four instrumental pieces, all in the spirit of the book. Unlike some recorded sets that preserve the order of the book, this one does not, though Ad mortem festinamus , the danse macabre that breaks the pattern of Marian devotion dominating the book, always comes last. The two brief canons, one after the other in the book, have been recorded a couple of times as a single canon (by Joel Cohen and Brigitte Lesne) or at least in sequence, but here they are separated. Like several other successful versions, this ensemble of men, women, and children accompanied by instruments elicits the ambiance of a disparate group of pilgrims spending the night in the open space before the abbey church, celebrating in folk style the devotion that brought them together. To appreciate their situation, it helps to picture the monastery perched on the side of a mountain more than halfway up to the 4,000-foot peak. Access is roundabout even now and must always have been difficult at best. Yet it has always drawn hordes of pilgrims and visitors. (Stunning photos can be found easily by a Web search.)


Deslignes’s version ranks with the best. The Discant and Licanus discs mentioned above are also fine, though children’s voices would have added something more. Among older versions, Savall and Lesne are still fine. A good and inexpensive resource for further understanding is the facsimile, edition, and commentary by Maricarmen Gómez i Muntané, El Llibre Vermell de Montserrat , which includes an English summary in the Catalan edition of 2000 (the Spanish edition of 1990 had no English summary). Don’t pass up Deslignes’s rousing presentation.


FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

1. Llibre Vermell de Montserrat by Anonymous
Conductor:  Christophe Deslignes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Namur Chamber Choir,  Millenarium
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; Spain 
2. Procession des pèlerins by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Millenarium
Venue:  église Saint-Appollinaire à Bolland 
Length: 1 Minutes 7 Secs. 
3. Cuncti simus concanentes by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Millenarium
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; Spain 
Venue:  église Saint-Appollinaire à Bolland 
Length: 4 Minutes 41 Secs. 
4. Work(s): Inperairitz / Verges ses par (chanson avec envoi à 2 voix) by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Millenarium
Venue:  église Saint-Appollinaire à Bolland 
Length: 5 Minutes 9 Secs. 
5. Kyrie Rex Genitor (for Christmas Midnight Mass) by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Millenarium
Period: Medieval 
Venue:  église Saint-Appollinaire à Bolland 
Length: 2 Minutes 57 Secs. 
6. Res est admirabilis, sequence (polyphony) by Gradual of Ali Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Millenarium
Venue:  église Saint-Appollinaire à Bolland 
Length: 4 Minutes 50 Secs. 
7. Ave Maria, offertory by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Millenarium
Period: Medieval 
Written: Europe 
Venue:  église Saint-Appollinaire à Bolland 
Length: 5 Minutes 4 Secs. 
8. Mariam Matrem Virginem, virelai for 3 voices (Llibre Vermell) by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Millenarium
Period: Medieval 
Written: circa 13th Century; Spain 
Venue:  église Saint-Appollinaire à Bolland 
Length: 8 Minutes 40 Secs. 
9. Bal redon, improvisation by Xavier Terrazza
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Millenarium
Venue:  église Saint-Appollinaire à Bolland 
Length: 1 Minutes 10 Secs. 
10. Los Set gotxs recomptarem by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Millenarium
Venue:  église Saint-Appollinaire à Bolland 
Length: 6 Minutes 35 Secs. 
11. Advocatam innocemus by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Millenarium
Venue:  église Saint-Appollinaire à Bolland 
Length: 3 Minutes 59 Secs. 
12. O Virgo splendens, canon for 3 voices (Llibre Vermell) by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Millenarium
Venue:  église Saint-Appollinaire à Bolland 
Length: 2 Minutes 56 Secs. 
13. Danza vermeillosa by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Millenarium
Venue:  église Saint-Appollinaire à Bolland 
Length: 4 Minutes 22 Secs. 
14. Laudemus virginem, canon for 3 voices by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Millenarium
Venue:  église Saint-Appollinaire à Bolland 
Length: 2 Minutes 8 Secs. 
15. Stella splendens in monte, virelai for 2 voices (Llibre Vermell) by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Millenarium
Venue:  église Saint-Appollinaire à Bolland 
Length: 8 Minutes 20 Secs. 
16. Fauvel nous fait présent, motet in 3 parts by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Millenarium
17. Mater patris et filia, offertory by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Millenarium
Period: Romantic 
Written: Europe 
Venue:  église Saint-Appollinaire à Bolland 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 
18. Splendens ceptigera by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Millenarium
Venue:  église Saint-Appollinaire à Bolland 
Length: 1 Minutes 0 Secs. 
19. Polorum Regina by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Millenarium
Period: Medieval 
Venue:  église Saint-Appollinaire à Bolland 
Length: 6 Minutes 32 Secs. 
20. Work(s): Agnus Dei / Ave Maria by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Millenarium
Period: Medieval 
Written: Europe 
Venue:  église Saint-Appollinaire à Bolland 
Length: 2 Minutes 14 Secs. 
21. Ad Mortem Festinamus, virelai (fol. 26v) by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Millenarium
Written: circa 13th Century 
Venue:  église Saint-Appollinaire à Bolland 
Length: 4 Minutes 0 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Llibre Vermell de Montserrat [Catalonia, 14th Century]: Procession des pelerins
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat [Catalonia, 14th Century]: Cuncti simus concanentes
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat [Catalonia, 14th Century]: Inperairitz - Verges ses par
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat [Catalonia, 14th Century]: Kyrie Rex virginum
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat [Catalonia, 14th Century]: Res est mirabilis
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat [Catalonia, 14th Century]: Mariam Matrem
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat [Catalonia, 14th Century]: Ave Maria
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat [Catalonia, 14th Century]: Bal redon
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat [Catalonia, 14th Century]: Los set goyts recomptarem
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat [Catalonia, 14th Century]: Advocatam innocemus
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat [Catalonia, 14th Century]: O Virgo splendens
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat [Catalonia, 14th Century]: Danza vermeillosa
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat [Catalonia, 14th Century]: Laudemus virginem
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat [Catalonia, 14th Century]: Stella splendens in monte
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat [Catalonia, 14th Century]: Fauvel nous fait present
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat [Catalonia, 14th Century]: Mater patris et filia
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat [Catalonia, 14th Century]: Splendes ceptigera
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat [Catalonia, 14th Century]: Polorum regina
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat [Catalonia, 14th Century]: Agnus Dei - Ave Maria
Llibre Vermell de Montserrat [Catalonia, 14th Century]: Ad mortem festinamus

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