Ensembles Discantus & Alla francesca
Centre de musique médiévale de Paris

Nova sonet harmonia

Concert for the 8th centenary of the foundation of the order of the Dominicans

Dominican plainchant and 13th century polyphonies according to Jerome of Moravia alternate with songs to the Virgin from the ‘‘Rosarius’’ manuscript

Ensemble Discantus
Voices and handbells : Christel Boiron, Hélène Decarpignies, Lucie Jolivet, Brigitte Lesne, Caroline Magalhaes, Catherine Sergent
Brigitte Lesne / musical direction, conception
With the cooperation of Marie-Noël Colette (musicologist)

In 1206, Dominique de Guzmán establishes a feminine community in the hamlet of Prouilhe, near Carcassonne, around a chapel dedicated to Notre-Dame. From 1206 till 1217, he dispenses regularly his teaching at Prouilhe before creating the Order of the Friars Preachers and sending his followers to travel the world.

In 1217, the Order settles down in Paris, at the top of the street Saint Jacques (hence the name of Jacobins): quite close to the cathedral and to the university, they find themselves then at the heart of this Paris bubbling with musical creation and with intellectual life.

After his canonization in 1234, the feast of St. Dominic was very fast integrated into the calendar of the Order and new songs are composed in his honor. Magnificent manuscripts, mostly stemming from Dominican sister's convents, allow us to make relive this directory of plainchant.

Although there is no big collection of polyphonies noted at that time and associated with the Order, numerous testimonies echo of the practice of multiple-parts songs, as protected fragments from the manuscript of Wimpfen - Dominican convent of the valley of Neckar in Germany -, as well as the numerous musical examples given by the great Dominican theorist Jérôme de Moravie, in his treaty De Musica (at the end of 13th century).

Finally, the very specific cult dedicated to the Virgin Mary, in a burst of fervour and popular devotion, comes up in the songs of the Rosarius, the collection of sermons, miracles and the songs in langue d'oïl, copied by a Preaching Friar for the convent of the Dominican sisters of Poissy, at the beginning of the 14th century.

Alternating plainchant, vocal polyphonies and songs to the Virgin, this concert proposes a sound evocation of the first century of the life of the Order, giving a special place to the Dominican Nuns: "Vous ne savez que me fist Jhesus-Crist, li miens amis, quand Jacobine me fist par grant amour…"

Creation Summer 2016