El Llibre Vermell de Montserrat. Le Livre Vermeil de Montserrat
Berry Hayward Consort · Groupe Vocal Claire Caillard-Hayward

Erato NUM 88047 (LP)
Erato ECD 88047 (CD)


1. Tre fontane  [4:43]
estampie — groupe instrumental

2. Stella splendens  [5:32]  LV  2
groupe vocal & instrumental

3. Imperayritz de la ciutat joyosa  [2:29]  LV  9
saz & harpe

4. O virgo splendens  [2:11]  LV  1
groupe vocal

5. Los set goyts  [0:59]  LV  5
groupe instrumental

6. Improvisation  [3:57]

7. Polorum regina  [3:27]  LV  7
groupe instrumental & vocal

8. Cuncti simus concanentes  [2:21]  LV  6
groupe vocal & instrumental

9. Bellica  [4:36]
estampie — groupe instrumental

10. Maria matrem virginem  [5:05]  LV  8
voix de femmes, vièle, harpe, saz

11. Splendens ceptrigera  [0:41]  LV  4
voix d'hommes a cappella

12. Laudemus virginem I  [0:47]  LV  3
3 flûtes à bec, harpe

13. Laudemus virginem II  [0:40]  LV  3
voix de femmes et harpe

14. Estampie  [4:11]
2 flûtes à bec, orgue, percussion

15. Ad mortem festinamus  [8:00]  LV  10
groupe vocal & instrumental


Claire ANTONINI, saz, setar (luths)
David BELLUGI, flûtes a bec, cornamusa
Bruno CAILLAT, daf, zarb (percussion)
Berry HAYWARD, flûtes a bec, bombardes, chalumeau
Chris HAYWARD, flûte a bec, bendhir, crotales
Françoise JOHANNEL, harpe
Jacques MAILLARD, vièle a archet

Enregistrement numérique / Digital recording
Direction artistique de l'enregistrement / Recording supervision : Jérôme Paillard
Ingénieur du son / Sound engineer : Pierre Lavoix
Montage musical / Editing : Ysabelle Van Wersch-Cot
Enregistrement réalisé en / Recording : février/February 1983, Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris
Révision musicologique : Berry Hayward
Enregistré avec des microphones de studio Brtiel et Kjaer

Disponible en/Available in : (LP) NUM 75122 & (cassette) MCE 75122
© Editions Costallat 1984

recto : parement d'autel dédié a la Vierge (XIIIe siècle) — Barcelone, musée d'art catalan — photo Bulloz
verso : Berry Hayward — photo X

El Llibre Vermell de Montserrat

The Llibre Vermell is a collection of ten pilgrim songs in Latin and Catalan; the composer's identity is anonymous, but it is likely that a monk, or group of monks, from the Montserrat Abbey, composed these songs to entertain and instruct the pilgrims that flocked to Montserrat, one of the most significant shrines in fourteenth century Spain.

The ten songs are what remain of a much larger collection that has been subject to the ravages of time. Its survival and its historical significance have turned it into a symbol of Catalonian identity: in his autobiography, Casals praises this "national treasure".

In spite of obvious "European" influences — French and Italian — and the elaborate writing of "O Virgo Splendens", all of the evidence seems to indicate that the songs were popular dance songs to which the monks of Montserrat contributed religious words. They are all devoted to the celebration of the Virgin Mary, with the exception of "Ad Mortem Festinamus", a "dance macabre".  Despite the thematic and structural unity of these songs, one is struck by the great variety of emotions and feeling expressed in each one of them. Although the golden age had passed, the Llibre Vermell still revealed what Americo Castro identified as the conviviality between the streams of Jewish, Islamic and Christian cultures which took place in Medieval Spain. (For further musicological details concerning these pieces I refer the reader to H. Angles's article on the Llibre Vermell in the "Anuario Musical", Instituto Espanol de Musicologia, and to Gilbert Chase's book, "The Music of Spain").

The Llibre Vermell thus illustrates the significant shift in religion and art that was occurring in the late Middle Ages: the "profane" element predominates. Georges Duby identifies this with a gradual desacralisation of art; the "human" element obtrudes, obscuring the more metaphysical and liturgical functions of religious art; even religious art becomes a source of "pure" enjoyment. The arabesque — ornamentation — is its essential feature. The courtly, non-religious virtues extolled in the thirteenth century poetry of the Trouvères penetrate the fabric of devotion brought down to human scale. The profane and the sacred intermingle: this is the main basis for our approach to the Llibre Vermell. However, this intermingling takes on a particular form: in this recording the religious pieces of the Llibre Vermell are, on first hearing, more "profane" and less musically complex than the non-religious instrumental pieces which in their musical complexity reflect the new mentality emerging in fourteenth century art.

This revaluation of fourteenth century religious art reflects the serious searching thrust on fourteenth century man, caught in a period of terrible crisis: War, the Plague, the growing disillusionment with the Knightly Ideals, the failure of the Crusades, caused fourteenth century man to seek what Duby has called a "new intimacy". Happiness became internal reminiscence, anxiety pushed him towards new, more personal solutions, towards a renewed, increasingly intimate devotion and towards greater individuality in expressing it. These cultural currents, the stridency and the tensions of the fourteenth century, lead to the specific interpretations developed for this recording.

The nature of the drama of the fourteenth century has echoes for us in the crises of the twentieth and this fact may lay behind the unusual appeal that this music seems to have for us as we attempt today to recapture its beauty.