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Gilles Binchois
 
 
 

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.

 
Life
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 singers.

He retired to Soignies, evidently with a substantial pension for his long years of excellent service to the Burgundian court.

  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.

Binchois wrote 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
 
Chanson "Triste 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).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
De Plus en Plus de Binchois de Passacaille
 
 

De Plus en Plus - Gilles de Bins dit Binchois

- Ensemble Gilles Binchois

Countretenor , Akira Tachikawa
Luth , Dominique Vellard
Viele , Randall Cook

De plus en plus se renouvelle,
Ma doulce dame, gente et belle,
Ma volonte de vous veir ;
Ce me fait le tres grand desir
Que j'ai de vous ouir nouvelle.

Ne cuidies pas que je recelle,
Comme a tous jours vous estes celle
Que je vueil de tout obeir.

De plus en plus se renouvelle,
Ma doulce dame, gente et belle,
Ma volonte de vous veir ;

Helas, se vous m'estes cruelle,
J'auroie au cuer angoisse telle
Que je voudroie bien morir ;
Mais ce seroit sans deservir
En soutenant vostre querelle.

De plus en plus se renouvelle,
Ma doulce dame, gente et belle,
Ma volonte de vous veir ;
Ce me fait le tres grand desir
Que j'ai de vous ouir nouvelle.

Increasingly my desire to see you,
my sweet lady, fair and lovely,
renews itself ;
from it springs my very great need
to hear news from you.

Do not think that this is feigned,
for you always remain the one
whom I wish to obey in everything.

Increasingly my desire to see you,
my sweet lady, fair and lovely,
renews itself ;

Alas, if you were harsh to me
I should have such anguish in my heart
that I should indeed wish to die ;
but even than I would be serving you
by assenting to your reproach.

Increasingly my desire to see you,
my sweet lady, fair and lovely,
renews itself ;
from it springs my very great need
to hear news from you.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gilles Binchois - Vostre tres doulx regart
 
 

Ensemble Gilles Binchois - Dominique Vellard, dir.
Le Banquet du Voeu, 1454 / Music at the Court of Burgundy

Binchois: Vostre tres doulx regart (voice, harp)


Your most sweet, pleasing look,
fair one, whom I love more
than honesty permits,
pierces through my heart
and keeps it paralysed

not merely for a moment
but for all my life
to obey as I should

your most sweet, pleasing look,
fair one, whom I love more
than honesty permits.

I have nothing on earth worthy
to be under your command.
There is a good reason why:
for you are worthy of a royal prince,
and even he should die serving

your most sweet, pleasing look,
fair one, whom I love more
than honesty permits.
It pierces through my heart
and keeps it paralysed.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     
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