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Les Mysteres Des Templiers

Ensemble Organum
Release Date: 02/23/2010 
Label:  Naive   Catalog #: 195  
Composer:  AnonymousLéoninHildegard of BingenAlfons X (El Sabio),   ... 
Conductor:  Marcel PérèsBrigitte LesneDominique Vellard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble OrganumAlla FrancescaDiscantus Ensemble,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This CD from the ever-enterprising Naïve label is a compilation of 16 tracks from other recordings by four specialist groups: Ensemble Organum (directed by Marcel Pérès), Discantus (by Brigitte Lesne), Ensemble Gilles Binchois (Dominique Vellard) and Alla Francesca. They have three, five, four and four numbers respectively. The inspiration, the theme if you prefer, is the two hundred or so history of the Knights Templar.
After the First Crusade (1095-1099 CE) Hugues de Payns (d. 1136) formed a religious community, originally of nine knights, which
Read more would serve the Christian God not as monks or clerics - but as soldiers; milites Christi. Their first home was in a wing of his palace on the Temple Mount (now the Al-Aqsa mosque); hence their name - here the Templiers. Indirectly the movement in its wider form gave rise not only to seven more crusades (until 1270), but also, paradoxically, to the revival of the Christian pilgrimage thanks to greater and deeper personal spirituality.
These changes in turn sponsored (and were inevitably fed by) a flowering of the arts, including secular music. These were by and for lay people, not merely the privileged churches and their communities. And here on this CD is a representative selection… music by Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), Gauthier de Coincy (1178-1236) and Alfonso X, el Sabio, (1221-1284). The majority of works here, though, are by anonymous writers from the eleventh to the early thirteenth centuries. One of the longest pieces [tr.2] (none lasts much over eight minutes) is attributed to Leonin (1150-1210) and Pérotin (1160-1230) - at least to clerics at Notre Dame. Then Enixa est puerpera [tr.15] is somewhat redolent of Hildegard too. At the other end of the continuum is the inclusion of instruments in secular music. Amongst other developments reflected in the selection of music here is that from monastic monody to urban polyphony in the cathedrals.
The task of surveying the music of two hundred years, even with a specific theme of the changes parallel to the rise and fall of the Templars, is not a simple one. Nor one that's easily contained in just over an hour's music. If you didn't know the historical background, then this might seem like just another selection of mediaeval music. In that sense, the 'concept' has - and should - take second place to the substance of the performances. And these are performances which should, and can, be appreciated and enjoyed in their own right. Since the standard of performance - technically and in terms of commitment to inspiration - is as high as one would expect of these four groups, that can still happen. But just how relevant the rooting of origins and sources in the Templars is when the music at the same time has multiple other strengths and attributes is open to question. It does remain impressive music, nevertheless.
The acoustics in which these recordings were made are all appropriate to the works performed. The CD has a useful essay aiming to tie the themes and music together; though no texts. And there are errors - even about what's on the CD. Given the limitations just alluded to, you may want, rather, to seek out the complete recordings and pursue each in its own right. But as a sampler, this collection will provide a useful introduction.
-- Mark Sealey, MusicWeb International 

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Works on This Recording

Kyrie eleison by Anonymous
Conductor:  Marcel Pérès,  Brigitte Lesne,  Dominique Vellard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Organum,  Alla Francesca,  Discantus Ensemble  ... 
Period: Medieval 
Et valde mane by Léonin
Period: Medieval 
Written: 12th Century; France 
O rubor sanguinis by Hildegard of Bingen
Period: Medieval 
Written: 12th Century; Germany 
Cantigas de Santa María: no 29, Nas mentes senpre teer by Alfons X (El Sabio)
Period: Medieval 
Written: 13th Century; Spain 
Benedicamus Domino by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Written: circa 1200 
Uterus hodie virginis floruit by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Ma viele by Gautier de Coincy
Period: Medieval 
Written: 1214-1233; France 
Fa fa mi fa/Ut re mi ut by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Written: 13th Century; Spain 
Cum vox sanguinis by Hildegard of Bingen
Period: Medieval 
Written: Germany 
Christus patris gratie by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
Redit etas aurea by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
Canticum exercuit by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
Enixa est puerpera by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Written: France 
Crucem sanctam by Anonymous

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