The Whyte Rose / Ferrara Ensemble
poétique anglo-bourguignonne au temps de Charles le Téméraire


"The present selection is biased more toward the pieces in English and by English composers in the later Burgundian period, but is a strong program nonethess. It also contains 3 illustrative motets."
Arcana A 301
enero de 1997
Église S. Germanus de Seewen (Soleure)

01 - Walter FRYE. Salve virgo mater    [5:21]
motet - alto, ténor, baryton

02 - My herte ys so plunget yn greffe     [1:20]
chanson lyrique - baryton

03 - The hye desire     [3:12]
ballade - viola d'arco, luth

04 - Walter FRYE. Alas alas alas my chief song     [3:11]
ballade - alto, ténor, harpe KD

05 - La Danse de Cleves     [2:23]
viola d'arco, dolce melos

06 - Antoine BUSNOIS. Je ne puis vivre ainsi tousjours     [6:07]
bergerette - alto, soprano, viola d'arco

07 - Johannes OCKEGHEM. Quand de vous seul je pers la veue     [5:43]
alto, harp KD, viola d'arco

08 - Robertus d'ANGLIA. El mal foco arda quella falsa lingua     [1:59]
soprano, ténor, viola d'arco

09 - Ballo de love     [4:23]
rebec, dolce melos, harpe MF, luth

10 - Antoine BUSNOIS. Anima liquefacta est ~ Stirps Jesse     [5:48]
motet - alto, ténor, baryton

11 - Thus y sompleyn my grevous hevynesse     [1:17]
soprano, alto

12 - Love wolle I withoute eny variaunce - T'Andernacken al op den Rijn    [3:03]
viola d'arco, luth

13 - My wofull hert of all gladnesse baryeyne     [6:00]
chanson lyrique - ténor, baryton, viola d'arco

14 - Robert MORTON. Le souvenir de vous me tue     [3:39]
rondeau - alto, ténor, baryton

15 - Fayre and discrete fresche wommanly figure     [2:22]
ballade -alto, ténor, luth

16 - MOLINET. Tart ara mon cuer sa plaisance     [5:31]
rondeau - soprano, ténor, viola d'arco

17 - Walter FRYE. Sospitati Dedit Egros ~ Deo Gratias ~ Amen     [5:18]
motet - alto, ténor, baryton

#1 :   Trento, Museo Provinciale d'arte, Castello del Buonconsiglio, Ms 88, f. 70v-71  
#2:   Dublin, Trinity College, MS 156, f. 92
#3/13/15:   London, British Library, MS add 5665 (Ritson), 68v-69 / 65v-66 / 72v-73
#4:   New Haven, Yale University, Mellon Chansonier, f. 77-79v
#5:   Bruxelles, Bibliothèque Royale Albert 1er, MS 9085, f. 22-23v with superius by Randall Cook & Crawford Young
#6/7:   Dijon, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 517, f. 37v-39 / f. 36v-37
#8:   Oporto, Bibliotheca Publica Municipal, MS 714, f. 76v-78
#9:   Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Ashmole 1393, f. 68v, instr. adapt. by Crawford Young
#10:   Bruxelles, Bibliothèque Royale Albert 1er, MS 5557, f. 83v-84
#11:   Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Ashmole 191, f. 193v
#12:   Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Ashmole 1393, f. 68 / Trento, Museo Provinciale d'arte, Castello del Buonconsiglio, Ms 87, f. 198v-199
#14/16:   Copenhague, Det Kongelige Bibliotek, MS 291 8°, f.26 / f. 7-9
#17:   Cambridge, Magdalene College, MS Pepys 1236 f. 84v-86


Crawford Young

Lena Susanne Norin, alto
Kathleen Dineen, soprano, harpe
Eric Mentzel, ténor
Stephen Grant, barytone

Karl Heinz Schickhaus, dolce melos
Randall Cook, viola d'arco, rebec
Marion Fourquier, harpe
Crawford Young, luth

discografí del Ferrara Ensemble

According to local tradition in Northamptonshire, Edward of York first met Elizabeth Woodville under an oak tree in the vicinity of Grafton, where witches were said to hold their unholy meetings. Factual or not, history records that the King of England stole away from his entourage at Stony Stratford in the dawn's light following the Witches Sabbath (the last night of April, known in Germany as Walpurgisnacht), and rode over to Grafton Regis to the Woodville home. There he wedded Elizabeth, "in most secret manner, upon the first day of May (1464), which spousals were solemnised early in the morning at a town named Grafton, near Stony Stratford at which marriage was no persons present but the spouse, the spousess, the duchess of Bedford her mother, the priest, two gentlewomen and a young man to help the priest sing".

Attributed by some witchcraft on the part of Elizabeth or her mother, Edward's impulsive decision to marry Elizabeth Woodville was a fateful one, an act that would make a large contribution to the downfall of the "Whyte Rose" (the emblem of the House of York, as opposed to the Red Rose emblem of the House of Lancaster; hence the epithet "Wars of the Roses" for their conflict over the throne of fifteenth-century England). The Burgundian chronicler Jean de Waurin reported that, upon Edward's announcement of the marriage some four months after the fact, his royal council "answered that she was not his match, however good and however fair she might be, and he must know well that she was no wife for a prince such as himself; for she was not the daughter of a duke or earl, but her mother, the Duchess of Bedford, had married a simple knight, so that though she was a child of a duchess and niece of the count of St. Pol, still she was no wife for him". News of the clandestine ceremony traveled quickly through the civilized world. For the Milanese courtier/poet/dance master Antonio Comazzano, la Regina d'ingliterra was a paragon of virtue whose chaste resistance to the king's lustful advances made her willing to risk death from his dagger rather than dishonor her soul (whether Edward ever actually threatened Elizabeth in this manner is unclear, but this would seem unlikely), and by her constancy she became England's queen.

If the Burgundians watched and wondered at the English monarch's display of questionable taste, they can hardly be blamed for doing so. After all, Edward had been (more than once) proposed as a marriage prospect for the ducal house of Burgundy. Indeed, his new bride had Burgundian ties through her mother, Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Duchess of Bedford. Edward's sister Margaret became the bride of Charles the Bold four years after Edward's marriage, and the wedding ceremony in Bruges provided a stark contrast to the secret ceremony of Edward and Elizabeth. The festivities surrounding the wedding of Charles and Margaret on the third of July 1468, described at length by Olivier de la Marche, lasted a week. One English guest, John Piston III, wrote home to his mother, " for the. Duke's corurt, as of lords and gentlewomen, knights, squires and gentlemen, I heard never of one like it, save King Arthur's Court".

Much music-making and revelry took place during that week in July 1468 in Bruges, yet little is known of which specific songs and instrumental pieces were performed. The same applies generally regarding the myriad other feasts hosted by the court of Charles the Bold, for there are very few existing records of individual performances. Burgundian songbooks (chansonniers) do survive and from these, as well as payment records, it is possible to put together a picture of the repertory of the period. Additionally, we have a choirbook of sacred works sung by the Burgundian court chapel during the 1460s and 1470s (Brus BR 5557). In modern music history literature, terms such as "Burgundian", "Franco-Flemish" or "Franco-Netherlands" are used to describe the music heard at the courts of Philip the Good (ruled 1419-1467) and Charles the Bold (ruled 1467-1477), while "Anglo-Franco-Flemish" might be more accurate. Although music history associates these style-labels with composers such as Busnois, Binchois, Dufay or van Ghizeghem, there is a large field of lesser-known or anonymous composers whose works were enjoyed at the Burgundian court.

In the Burgundian court chapel choirbook mentioned above, five Masses by English composers are preserved, including three by Walter Frye. This recording's opening motet, Frye's sublime Salve virgo mater, is thought to be a contrafact of the original Kyrie of the opening Missa Summa Trinitati of the Burgundian choir-book. The book's only anonymous Mass may also be from Frye as it is thematically very similar to his [/i]Sospitati dedit egros[/i] motet. This is Frye's only complete surviving work from an English manuscrit featuring six Sospitati settings, including Frye's (the so-called "Pepys manuscript", containing sacred music with which Edward IV may well have been familiar; two short compositions of Queen Elizabeth Woodville's cousin "Haute", Sir William Hawte, are included in this source). This recording, following a remark of Sydney R. Charles published in 1967, pairs Frye's Sospitati with two musically independent Settings of Deo gracias and Amen notated on the same folios of the manuscript.

While enjoying the favor of the Burgundians, Frye's relatively modest output of compositions found wide distribution in other parts of Europe, and with good reason: his sure, tasteful counterpoint and widely-arching, flowing melodies are unlike any other composer's from this period, most of whom at the Burgundian court being French. The melodic lines, together with the song texts, often express that plaintiveness or yearning which is central to the literary tradition of amour courtois, and (concerning polyphonic song-settings in particular) to the literary/musical tradition of Machaut. Still, the musical soul of Frye's works is unmistakeably English. Other English lyric songs of the period, for example the early-style, anonymous works from the Ritson manuscript (see list of manuscript sources) come very close to Frye in feeling and in melody.

While Margaret of York may or may not have been personally acquainted with Walter Frye, she would have known Antoine Busnois, who worked in her service and who sang in her stepdaughter Mary of Burgundy's chapel. For the period of Charles the Bold, Busnois is the quintessential Burgundian court chansons composer, a worthy successor to a Burgundian tradition of compositional subtilitas going back at least to masters such as Solage and Senleches.
Crawford Young