Gilles de Binche
(called Binchois), also known as Gilles de Bins (ca.
1400 – 20 September 1460), was a Franco-Flemish
composer, one of the earliest members of the Burgundian
School, and one of the three most famous composers of
the early 15th century. While often ranked behind his
contemporaries Guillaume Dufay and John Dunstaple, at
least by contemporary scholars, his influence was
arguably greater than either, since his works were
cited, borrowed and used as source material more often
than those by any other composer of the time.
Binchois was probably from Mons, the son of Jean and
Johanna de Binche, who may have been from the nearby
town of Binche. His father was a councillor to Duke
Guillaume IV of Hainault, and also had a position in
a church in Mons. Nothing is known about Gilles
until 1419, when he became organist at the church of
Ste. Waudru in Mons. In 1423 went to live in Lille.
Around this time he may have been a soldier in the
service of the Burgundians, or perhaps the English
Earl of Suffolk, as indicated by a line in the
memorial motet written on his death by Ockeghem.
Sometime near the
end of the 1420s he joined the court chapel of
Burgundy, and by the time of his motet Nove cantum
melodie (1431) he was evidently a singer there,
since the text of the motet itself lists all 19
He retired to
Soignies, evidently with a substantial pension for
his long years of excellent service to the
Music and influence
Binchois is often considered to be the finest
melodist of the 15th century, writing carefully
shaped lines which are easy to sing, and utterly
memorable. His tunes appeared in copies decades
after his death, and were often used as sources for
mass composition by later composers.
Most of his music, even his sacred music, is simple
and clear in outline, sometimes even ascetic; a
greater contrast between Binchois and the extreme
complexity of the ars subtilior of the previous
century would be hard to imagine.
Most of his secular songs are rondeaux, which became
the most common song form during the century.
Binchois, however, rarely wrote in strophic form,
but instead shaped his melody independently of the
verse's rhyme scheme.
music for the court, secular songs of love and
chivalry, music that was expected by the Dukes of
Burgundy and that was evidently loved by them.
Gilles Binchois - Triste
plaisir et douleureuse joye
plaisir et douleureuse joye" composed by Gilles de Binche
(or Binchois), a.k.a. GILLES DE BINS.
Poem: Alain Chartier (1385-1433)
Triste plaisir et douloureuse joye, Aspre doulceur, desconfort ennuieux, Ris en plorant, souvenir oublieux M'acompaignent, combien que seul je soye.
Embuchié sont, affin qu'on ne les voye Dedans mon cueur, en l'ombre de mes yeux. Triste plaisir et amoureuse joye !
C'est mon trésor, ma part et ma monoyé ; De quoy Dangier est sur moy envieux Bien le sera s'il me voit avoir mieulx Quant il a deuil de ce qu'Amour m'envoye. Triste plaisir et douloureuse joye.
(translation) Sad pleasure and sorrowful joy, bitter sweetness, agonizing comfort, laughter full of tears, dwindling memories, those are my friends, even though I am alone.
This is my treasure, my only wealth. That is why Distress is full of envy: if only he could see my advantage, for he hates me for what Love has given me.
Played by Lena Susanne Norin (Alto), Randall Cook (viol'
da gamba/Vielle/fiddle) and Susanne Ansorg (Rebec/fiddle).