Harmonia Early Music

Harmonia Time Capsule: 1331

Let’s take a quick look back in time . . . Crusades, explorers, sultans and composers...1331, a year of news, a year to remember.

The Departure Of Odoric Of Pordenone

Photo: World Imaging (wikipedia)

The Departure Of Odoric Of Pordenone, from "Romance and Travels," 14th century. Reproduction in "Ghengis Khan et l'Empire Mongol," Jean-Paul Roux.

Poland, 1331:  The Battle of Plowce, a struggle between Polish soldiers and knights of the Teutonic Order, raged.  When Dietrich von Altenburg and the army of the Teutonic Order tried to take the town of Brzesc Kujawski, in central Poland, they were 7,000 strong.  Though the Polish army had only 5,000 soldiers, they met their invaders in full force.  The battle continued past nightfall, with heavy causalities on both sides.  Ultimately, the Polish army was victorious; although the Teutonic Order was not completely destroyed.  The Battle of P?owace was but one event in the Teutonic Order’s decades-long crusade to convert Eastern Europe to Christianity.

Medieval Polish Armies 966-1500
David Nicolle and Witold Sarnecki
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The Northern Crusades
Eric Christiansen
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Teutonic Knight: 1190-1561
David Nicolle
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In Italy in January of 1331, Odoric of Pordenone died.  The medieval traveller provided important eye-witness reports of his journey to China, including accounts of cannibalism and foot binding.  Numerous copies of Odoric’s narrative were made and disseminated throughout Europe.  As a result, today some consider him a greater explorer than Marco Polo.

The Travels of Friar Odoric: 14th Century Journal of the Blessed Odoric of Pordenone
Odoric of Pordenone and Paolo Chiesa
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The year 1331 also marks the death of Abu’l-Fida, an Arabic historian, geographer, warrior and statesman who rose to become the sultan of Hama (located in present-day Syria).  In 1320, after receiving the rank of sultan, Abu’l-Fida dedicated over twenty years of peaceful governance to the city of Hama.  During this time, his generous patronage attracted many writers to his court.

The Arabs: A Short History
Philip Khuri Hitti
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In this same year, medieval composer Philippe de Vitry was in London with Duke Louis de Bourbon.  De Vitry is known best for his motets included in the Roman de Fauvel, a lengthy poem by Gervais de Bus whose satirical animal and human characters symbolically criticize some of the political and religious corruption of the time. Some think that the inspiration for some of de Vitry’s musical criticisms came from his interaction with the rulers of France and England through his work with the Duke of Bourbon.

Philippe de Vitry: Motets
Sequentia (RCA, 1991)
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various: Music from the Time of the Crusades
Thomas Binkley, Jordi Savall (Virgin Classics, 2006)
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Music heard in this time capsule:

Anonymous: Time capsule music bed: Belicha
Kerstin Frödin, recorder — Works of Sandström, Broman, Hotteterre, Blavet, Telemann, and Shinohara (KMH, 1999)
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Hildegard von Bingen : O Virtus Sapientiae (excerpt)
Kronos Quartet — Early Music (Lachrymae Antigua) (Nonesuch, 1997)
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album cover

Anonymous: Time capsule music bed: Belicha
Kerstin Frödin, recorder — Works of Sandström, Broman, Hotteterre, Blavet, Telemann, and Shinohara (KMH, 1999)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Hildegard von Bingen : O Virtus Sapientiae (excerpt)
Kronos Quartet — Early Music (Lachrymae Antigua) (Nonesuch, 1997)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Medieval Polish Armies 966-1500
David Nicolle and Witold Sarnecki
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Northern Crusades
Eric Christiansen
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Teutonic Knight: 1190-1561
David Nicolle
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Travels of Friar Odoric: 14th Century Journal of the Blessed Odoric of Pordenone
Odoric of Pordenone and Paolo Chiesa
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Arabs: A Short History
Philip Khuri Hitti
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Philippe de Vitry: Motets
Sequentia (RCA, 1991)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
various: Music from the Time of the Crusades
Thomas Binkley, Jordi Savall (Virgin Classics, 2006)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Harmonia Early Music

Harmonia Early Music is a nationally syndicated weekly early music radio program, podcast and blog produced by WFIU Public Radio.

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