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Jun 25, 2018

The Leuven Chansonnier – world première of unique works

Saturday 25.08.2018  
In 2015, a small auction house in Brussels sold a lot consisting of a statue, an illuminated initial and a songbook to an art dealer. The songbook was purchased by the King Baudouin Foundation and entrusted to the Alamire Foundation in Leuven, for study. It turned out to be a totally unknown, complete, late 15th century chansonnier. The elegant manuscript, illuminated with coloured initials, consists of 96 parchment pages. It opens with a spiritual work in Latin, but then includes 49 songs in French, all of which are secular. The manuscript does not state the names of any of the composers. Because 38 pieces are also found in other chansonniers from the same period, however, it has been possible to identify them and attribute them to leading 15th century Franco-Flemish masters, such as Binchois, Ockeghem and Busnoys. Twelve compositions in the manuscript are unique and completely unknown. Further musicological research will be required to reveal the identity of these pieces.
The world première of all the music in the songbook (including the unique works) will be performed by none less than Ensemble Leones, Sollazzo Ensemble, Park Collegium and Huelgas.
> The Leuven Chansonnier has been fully digitised by the Alamire Digital Lab. You can see it online at