Give Now

Harmonia Early Music

Harmonia Time Capsule: 1350

Let’s take a quick look back in time to the year 1350 and the birth of a Dominican friar, the death of two kings, and the Battle of Winchelsea.

from The Chantilly Manuscript.

Photo: Shlishke (wikipedia)

Detail from the score of Baude Cordier's chanson "Belle, bonne, sage," from The Chantilly Manuscript.

In Valencia, Saint Vincent Ferrer was born.  Legend tells that his father dreamt of a Dominican friar who foretold of Vincent’s future accomplishments and fame.  The friar’s prophesy was realized when Vincent began his classical education as a child and then took up the study of theology as an adolescent.  After becoming a member of the Dominican Order and earning a doctorate in theology at the University of Lleida, Vincent devoted himself to missionary work.  Deeply troubled by the Great Schism, and to combat his feelings of turmoil, Vincent traveled Europe for twenty-one years, preaching the Gospel and converting countless people to Catholicism.  He had a particular influence on members of the Jewish community, although he’s said to have brought them to the church through forceful means, such as the forwarding of anti-Semitic laws.

St. Vincent Ferrer: The Angel of the Judgment
Andrew Pradel
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

Treatise on the Spiritual Life
St. Vincent Ferrer
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

Meanwhile, in Gibraltar, Alfonso XI, King of Castile, León and Galicia, died at the age of thirty-eight.  Alfonso left behind a legacy of expansive military campaigns.  Succeeding to the throne of Castile while just an infant, Alfonso’s childhood was fraught with political division and disputes over the claim to regency.  However, after taking up full responsibility as ruler, the young king’s enemies were swiftly dispersed.  His forces consolidated, Alfonso went about expanding the borders of his territory to the Strait of Gibraltar.  Wars waged against the Moors earned him the title “Alfonso the Avenger” and “Alfonso the Implacable.”

Order and Chivalry: Knighthood and Citizenship in Late Medieval Castile
Jesus D. Rodriguez-Velasco
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

Finding Courage: History's Young Heroes and Their Amazing Deeds
J. M. Bedell
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

The Medieval Spains
Bernard F. Reilly
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

In Lorraine, France, another combatant king died in 1350.  At the time of Philip VI’s death at the age of forty-three, France was a divided country suffering in the wake of the Black Death.  A third of Philip’s subjects were wiped out.  The resulting labor shortage had consequences that were played out in the successive struggles of the Hundred Years’ War.  From France’s confident entrance into the war, and Philip’s numerous naval victories, the country’s military success waned to its great defeat at the battle of Battle of Crécy.

The Hundred Years War: The English in France 1337-1453
Desmond Seward
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

Another instance of English victory over the French during the Hundred Years’ War was the Battle of Winchelsea in 1350. King Edward III commanded a fleet of fifty ships against a Castilian fleet of forty.  In the war’s initial years, Castilians fought as mercenaries of the French, employing piracy against the English at ports of trade.  At Winchelsea, these mercenaries prepared for attack just as Edward was relaxing on the deck of the Cog Thomas, listening to minstrels playing German airs and admiring the singing of Sir John Chandos.  Chronicler Jean Froissart, who was privy to the battle, wrote that, by twilight, Edward’s men had boarded the Castilian ships.

Chronicles
Jean Froissart
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

At court and chapel, music accompanying the Hundred Years’ War was being composed in 1350.  Numerous examples of French polyphonic works from this time period are found in the Codex Chantilly.  One hundred and twelve pieces survive, each a representation of the Ars subtilior, or “subtle art” style. Among the ideals of the new compositional “style” were contrapuntal complexity and the relation of one musical line to another via precise numerical ratio. Composers such as Magister Grimace, Baude Cordier, and Guillaume de Machaut helped set a new compositional “standard” by imbuing traditional poetic forms, or forms fixes, with their innovative and subtle musical ideas.

Codex Chantilly: Ballades & Rondeaux
Ensemble Organum
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

Music heard in this time capsule:

Magister Grimace : Tr. 9 - Se Zephirus, Phebus et leur lignie-Se Jupiter (excerpt)
De Caelis — Codex Chantilly: En l'Amoureux Vergier (Aeon , 2012)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

Magister Grimace : Tr. 9 - Se Zephirus, Phebus et leur lignie-Se Jupiter (excerpt)
De Caelis — Codex Chantilly: En l'Amoureux Vergier (Aeon , 2012)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
St. Vincent Ferrer: The Angel of the Judgment
Andrew Pradel
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Treatise on the Spiritual Life
St. Vincent Ferrer
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Order and Chivalry: Knighthood and Citizenship in Late Medieval Castile
Jesus D. Rodriguez-Velasco
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Finding Courage: History's Young Heroes and Their Amazing Deeds
J. M. Bedell
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Medieval Spains
Bernard F. Reilly
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Hundred Years War: The English in France 1337-1453
Desmond Seward
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Chronicles
Jean Froissart
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Codex Chantilly: Ballades & Rondeaux
Ensemble Organum
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Laura Osterlund

Laura Osterlund is a scriptwriter for Harmonia, recorder player, and student at McGill Univeristy in Montreal, Canada. In 2007, she moved from the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois to Montreal in pursuit of a B.Mus. with major concentrations in Early Music Performance and Music History. Laura is an active musician throughout Montreal and Chicago and an avid memberof the movement to promote Early Music performance, pedagogy, research, and appreciation throughout North America.

View all posts by this author »

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Harmonia Early Music:

More Subscription Options

Follow Us

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Harmonia Early Music

About The Hosts

Search Harmonia Early Music

where to hear harmonia