With the participation of: Michał Gondko, Corina Marti
In 1192 Richard Lionheart granted his liegeman Guy de Lusignan sovereignty over Cyprus. The Lusignan kings strove to create a kingdom based on Western standards and to make Cyprus subject to the jurisdiction of the Latin Church. The island became the furthest outpost of Latin Christendom in the East, and the court in Nicosia a centre of Western European culture, language and lifestyle. The Lusignan kings, whose ancestors came from the region of Poitou in France, surrounded themselves with nobility of predominantly French origin. As this recording demonstrates, French culture also found a means of expression through music. Only one material witness to the musical culture of the Lusignan court is known to have survived. It is a large parchment manuscript housed in the Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria in Torino. Considered »by far the largest repository of French music — or at least of music in the French tradition — between the Ars Nova compilations of the fourteenth and the Franco-Burgundian manuscripts of the late fifteenth century« it is also »without doubt the most neglected major source of late medieval polyphony that has come down to us«. Epithets »mysterious« and »unusual« further characterize Torino J.II.9: not a single ascription of authorship was recorded in its pages, not a single piece it contains is found elsewhere in surviving musical manuscripts copied at roughly the same time… Much greater than usual care seems to have gone into the choice and orderly arrangement of the repertoire throughout the manuscript as well as into its subsequent execution. The manuscript's polyphonic music is in many ways indebted to the French styles and repertoires of the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, a feature perfectly compatible with the taste of the Lusignan court.
For the present recording La Morra made a choice out of no fewer than 166 musical settings of French poetry, all of highest quality and accomplished beauty — theFlour de Beaulté.
Since its foundation at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis (Basel, Switzerland) and international debut in 2000, LA MORRA has been performing late Medieval and early Renaissance music in prestigious festivals such as the Belgian Festival van Vlaanderen, the Dutch Holland Early Music Festival andNetwerk Oude Muziek, the Swiss Freunde Alter Musik in Basel, the French Rencontres de Musique Médiévale du Thoronet, the North-Italian Il Canto delle Pietre, and has given concerts in numerous other early music events across Europe.
The ensemble's debut CD »Le Jardin de Plaisance« (Raumklang), which opened the new recording series from the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in 2003, was warmly welcomed by the international press, as were two following recordings released in 2005, »Dame de Deuil« (Et'Cetera) and »Ex Libris Doctoris Amerbachii« (Musiques Suisses). The present recording marks the beginning of the ensemble's cooperation with the Ramée label.
Els Janssens, voice
Corina Marti, flutes and artistic direction
Michal Gondko, lute and artistic direction
Dani Pelagatti, douçaine
Uri Smilansky, vielle, flute