The Binchois Consort at Hautecombe

Recently, I was lucky to spend a long weekend singing with the Binchois Consort directed by Andrew Kirkman in the beautiful Abbaye d’Hautecombe in France. We performed a programme based around Anton Brumel’s parody mass on Josquin des Prez’s chanson Berzerette savoisienne. Brumel was employed as a musician in the Court of the Savoy around 1500 and it seems likely that the court spent time at Hautecombe  during his employment.

Although I have sung Brumel’s Et ecce terrae motus with the Ebor Singers, I was unfamiliar with any of his other work. Philip Weller (who prepared the editions for these concerts) explained that while Brumel wrote a number of masse, mostly in four parts, only a handful have been edited and fewer are performed regularly. This seems a shame, since the quality of this music was so exceptional. Singing it with an ensemble of six solo voices was also an outstanding experience.

The experience of making wonderful music in this stunning setting was certainly enhanced by the generous hospitality we received from the Abbey’s current occupants who are all members of the Chemin Neuf Community. It was a wonderful experience and I hope to return in the future.


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