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LES HAULZ ET LES BAS
Concilum zu Constanz

New on ahalani-records: a brand new co-production with German radio station Deutschlandfunk Kultur. Review copies can be requested now. Please send a mail to: office {at} ahalani-records.com

concilium

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The Council started badly for 'Pope' John XXIII. In the late autumn of 1414 in Vorarlberg, shortly before his destination, the coach he was travelling in rolled over and he was pitched out. It was a bad omen, considering it was he, together with King Sigismund, who had initiated the Council of Constance. This summit meeting gathered together Europe's political and religious elite, their trumpeters, shawm players, chapel singers and composers following them to this centre of power. Hundreds of masses were celebrated with liturgical music of the highest quality, while before the doors of the churches trumpets and shawms announced the exalted status of the guests with the heavenly harmony and diabolic din of trumpets and shawms.

In his chronicle of the Council of Constance Ulrich Richental gave an eyewitness account of the state entry of King Sigismund and his court:

"...do viengen all pfiffer und prosoner an pfiffen und prosonen so strenklich, das nieman sin aigen wort wol hören mocht." (The shawm and trumpet players began to blow and trumpet so loud that no-one could hear his or her own words)

In its 25th anniversary year the ensemble Les haulz et les bas marks the 600th anniversary of the end of the Council of Constance with a programme of music for the alta capella ensembles present there. Among the composers represented are:
Guillaume Du Fay - almost certainly present at the council as a choirboy and of whom Pierro de Medici would later call 'the greatest ornament of our time'.
Antonio Zachara da Teramo, composer to Antipope John XXIII and who disappeared at the time of the deposed Pope's escape from Constance.
Johannes Ciconia, who composed the motet Doctorem Principem in honour of his patron Francesco Zabarella, a legate of the Antipope and joint planner of the Council together with King Sigismund.
Oswald von Wolkenstein, the famous singer, poet, politician and composer who was taken on in the company of King Sigismund in Constance in 1415 and who wrote his own testimony as a fighter, rebel and womanizer in his songs. During and following the Council he borrowed freely for his poems the music of French, Italian and German compositions, which he had presumably heard performed there.

Gesine Bänfer - Shawm, bombard, percussion
Ian Harrison - Shawm, bombard, bagpipe
David Yacus - Buisines, slide trumpets
Nathaniel Wood - Buisines, slide trumpets
Nora Thiele - Tympani, nakers
Andrea Piccioni - Tamburello, percussion