Sunday, January 2, 8400
Giles Binchois (c. 1400-1467) - Burgundy Belgium
[Jan van Eyck - Leal Souvenir (Giles Binchois)]
Franco-Flemish composer Gilles Binchois (Gilles de Binche, Gilles de Bins, c. 1400, c. Mons, Burgundy (now Belgium) - September 20, 1460), the son of Jean and Johanna de Binche (a nearby town), was one of the earliest members of the
[Territory of the Duchy of Burgundy (Bourgogne) in 1477 marked in yellow]
Burgundian School, and among the three most famous composers of the early 1400's.
While often ranked behind friend Guillaume Dufay and Englishman John Dunstable, his influence was arguably greater, as his compositions were cited, borrowed and used as source material (particularly for masses) more often than those by others of his time. He was considered the finest melodist of the century, with carefully shaped lines, easy to sing and utterly memorable.
Binchois became organist at the church of Ste. Waudru in Mons in 1419, and went to live in
Lille, Burgundy (now France, near the border with Belgium), four years later, perhaps becoming a soldier to the Burgundians, or to the English Earl of Suffolk, as indicated by a line in the memorial motet written on his death by Ockeghem.
In the 1420's he joined the court chapel of Burgundy, and by the time of his motet Nove cantum melodie (1431) he was probably a singer there, since the text of the motet itself lists all 19 singers. Despite the church associations, he evidently never produced a complete mass, let alone a L'Homme Arme one.
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.
Among his stimulating works is Files a Marier (Don't Marry) (1450), a cleverly contrapuntal and irreverent chanson (French art song), complete with call-and-response nagging -- two upper voices in free imitative canon at the octave against two lower dissimilar counterpoints.
Giles Binchois - Files a Marier (Don't Marry)
(Music from the Court of Burgundy)
(Recording keyed to Historical Anthology of Music)
[The Sonian Forest (Dutch: Zoniënwoud, French: Forêt de Soignes) is a 4,421-hectare (10,920-acre) forest in the southeast of Brussels, Belgium]
Binchois retired to Soignes, with a large pension for long years of superlative service.
The Forest of Soignies lay behind the Anglo-allied Army of the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo. From the time of the Romans it had generally been seen as a tactical blunder to position troops for battle in front of woodland because it hampers their ability to retreat. Some have argued that there was no bottom to the forest and in would not have hampered a disengagement and extraction. Others have suggested that Wellington if pressed intended to retreat eastwards towards Blucher's Prussian army so the interior of the wood was of little military significance.
Mons (Dutch: Bergen, Picard: Mont) is a Walloon city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut, of which it is the capital. The Mons municipality includes the old communes of Cuesmes, Flénu, Ghlin, Hyon, Nimy, Obourg, Baudour (partly), Jemappes (partly), Ciply, Harmignies, Harveng, Havré, Maisières, Mesvin, Nouvelles, Saint-Denis, Saint-Symphorien, Spiennes, Villers-Saint-Ghislain, Casteau (partly), Masnuy-Saint-Jean (partly), and Ville-sur-Haine (partly).
Burgundy (French: Bourgogne; German: Burgund) is a region historically situated in modern-day Belgium, France, and Switzerland, originally inhabited in turn by Celts (Gauls), Romans (Gallo-Romans), and in the 4th century assigned by Romans to the Germanic people of the Burgundians, who settled there in their own kingdom. This Burgundian kingdom was conquered in the 6th century by Franks who continued this kingdom under their own rule.
Later in time, the region was divided between the Duchy of Burgundy (west of Burgundy) and the County of Burgundy (east of Burgundy). The Duchy of Burgundy is the more famous of the two, and the one which reached historical fame. Later, the Duchy of Burgundy became the French province of Burgundy, while the County of Burgundy became the French province of Franche-Comté, literally meaning free county.
The modern-day administrative région of Bourgogne comprises most of the former Duchy of Burgundy.
The Burgundians were one of the Germanic peoples who filled the power vacuum left by the collapse of the western half of the Roman Empire. In 411, they crossed the Rhine and established a kingdom at Worms. Amidst repeated clashes between the Romans and Huns, the Burgundian kingdom eventually occupied what is today the borderlands between Switzerland, France, and Italy. In 534, the Franks defeated Godomar, the last Burgundian king, and absorbed the territory into their growing empire.
Burgundy's modern existence is rooted in the dissolution of the Frankish Empire. When the dynastic succession was settled in the 880s, there were four Burgundies:
the Kingdom of Upper (Transjurane) Burgundy around Lake Geneva,
the Kingdom of Lower Burgundy in Provence, and
the Duchy of Burgundy west of the Saône
the County of Burgundy east of the Saône
The two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Burgundy were reunited in 937 and absorbed into the Holy Roman Empire under Conrad II in 1032, as the Kingdom of Arles. The Duchy of Burgundy was annexed by the French throne in 1477. The County of Burgundy remained loosely associated with the Holy Roman Empire (intermittently independent, whence the name "Franche-Comté"), and finally incorporated into France in 1678, with the Treaties of Nijmegen.
During the Middle Ages, Burgundy was the seat of some of the most important Western churches and monasteries, among them Cluny, Citeaux, and Vézelay.
During the Hundred Years' War, King John II of France gave the duchy to his younger son, rather than leaving it to his successor on the throne. The duchy soon became a major rival to the French throne, because the Dukes of Burgundy succeeded in assembling an empire stretching from Switzerland to the North Sea, mostly by marriage. The Burgundian Empire consisted of a number of fiefdoms on both sides of the (then largely symbolic) border between the Kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire. Its economic heartland was in the Low Countries, particularly Flanders and Brabant. The court in Dijon outshone the French court by far, both economically and culturally. In Belgium and in the south of the Netherlands, a "Burgundian lifestyle" still means "enjoyment of life, good food, and extravagant spectacle."
Philip the Good (French: Philippe le Bon), also Philip III, Duke of Burgundy (July 31, 1396 – June 15, 1467) was Duke of Burgundy from 1419 until his death. He was a member of a cadet line of the Valois dynasty (the then Royal family of France). During his reign Burgundy reached the height of its prosperity and prestige and became a leading center of the arts. Philip is known in history for his administrative reforms, patronage of Flemish artists such as Jan van Eyck, and the capture of Joan of Arc. During his reign he alternated between English and French alliances in an attempt to improve his dynasty's position.
Born in Dijon, he was the son of John the Fearless and Margaret of Bavaria-Straubing. On the January 28, 1405, he was named Count of Charolais in appanage of his father and probably on the same day he was engaged to Michele of Valois (1395–1422), daughter of Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria. They were married in June of 1409.
Philip subsequently married Bonne of Artois (1393–1425), daughter of Philip of Artois, Count of Eu, and also the widow of his uncle, Philip II, Count of Nevers, in Moulins-les-Engelbert on November 30, 1424. The latter is sometimes confused with Philip's biological aunt, also named Bonne (sister of John the Fearless, lived 1379 - 1399), in part due to the Papal Dispensation required for the marriage which made no distinction between a marital aunt and a biological aunt.
His third marriage, in Bruges on January 7, 1430 with Isabella of Portugal (1397 - December 17, 1471), daughter of John I of Portugal and Philippa of Lancaster, produced three sons:
Antoine (September 30, 1430, Brussels – February 5, 1432, Brussels), Count of Charolais
Joseph (April 24, 1432 – aft. May 6, 1432), Count of Charolais
Charles (1433–1477), Count of Charolais and Philip's successor as Duke, called "Charles the Bold" or "Charles the Rash"
Philip also had some eighteen illegitimate children, including Antoine, bastard of Burgundy, by 24 documented mistresses. Another, Philip of Burgundy (1464-1524), bishop of Utrecht, was a fine amateur artist, and the subject of a biography in 1529.
Philip became Duke of Burgundy, Count of Flanders, Artois, and Franche Comté when his father was assassinated in 1419. Philip accused Charles, the Dauphin of France and Philip's brother-in-law of planning the murder of his father which had taken place during a meeting between the two at Montereau, and so he continued to prosecute the civil war between the Burgundians and Armagnacs. In 1420 Philip allied himself with Henry V of England under the Treaty of Troyes. In 1423 the alliance was strengthened by the marriage of his sister Anne to John, Duke of Bedford, regent for Henry VI of England.
In 1430 Philip's troops captured Joan of Arc at Compiègne and later handed her over to the English who orchestrated a heresy trial against her, conducted by pro-Burgundian clerics.
Despite this action against Joan of Arc, Philip's alliance with England was broken in 1435 when Philip signed the Treaty of Arras (which completely revoked the Treaty of Troyes) and thus recognised Charles VII as king of France. Philip signed for a variety of reasons, one of which may have been a desire to be recognised as the Premier Duke in France. Philip then attacked Calais, but this alliance with Charles was broken in 1439, with Philip supporting the revolt of the French nobles the following year (an event known as the Praguerie) and sheltering the Dauphin Louis.
Philip generally was preoccupied with matters in his own territories and seldom was directly involved in the Hundred Years' War, although he did play a role during a number of periods such as the campaign against Compiegne during which his troops captured Joan of Arc. He incorporated Namur into Burgundian territory in 1429 (March 1, by purchase from John III, Marquis of Namur), Hainault and Holland, Frisia and Zealand in 1432 (with the defeat of Countess Jacqueline in the last episode of the Hook and Cod wars); inherited the duchy of Brabant and Limburg and the margrave of Antwerp in 1430 (on the death of his cousin Philip of Saint-Pol); and purchased Luxembourg in 1443 from Elisabeth of Bohemia, Duchess of Luxembourg. Philip also managed to ensure his illegitimate son, David, was elected Bishop of Utrecht in 1456. It is not surprising that in 1435, Philip began to style himself "Grand Duke of the West". In 1463 Philip returned some of his territory to Louis XI. That year he also created an Estates-General based on the French model. The first meeting of the Estates-General was to obtain a loan for a war against France and to ensure support for the succession of his son, Charles I, to his dominions. Philip died in Bruges in 1467.
Philip's court can only be described as extravagant. Despite the flourishing bourgeois culture of Burgundy, which the court kept in close touch with, he and the aristocrats who formed most of his inner circle retained a world-view dominated by knightly chivalry. He declined membership in the English Order of the Garter in 1422, which could have been considered an act of treason against the King of France, his feudal overlord. Instead in 1430 he created his own Order of the Golden Fleece, based on the Knights of the Round Table. He had no fixed capital and moved the court between various palaces, the main urban ones being Brussels, Bruges, or Lille. He held grand feasts and other festivities, and the knights of his Order frequently travelled throughout his territory participating in tournaments. In 1454 Philip planned a crusade against the Ottoman Empire, launching it at the Feast of the Pheasant, but this plan never materialized. In a period from 1444-6 he is estimated to have spent a sum equivalent to 2% of Burgundy's main tax income over the period, the recette génerale, with a single Italian supplier of silk and cloth of gold, Giovanni di Arrigo Arnolfini.
His court was regarded as the most splendid in Europe, and became the accepted leader of taste and fashion, which probably helped the Burgundian economy considerably, as Burgundian (usually Netherlandish) luxury products became sought by the elites of other parts of Europe. During his reign, for example, the richest English commissioners of illuminated manuscripts moved away from English and Parisian products to those of the Netherlands, as did other foreign buyers. Philip himself is estimated to have added six hundred manuscripts to the ducal collection, making him by a considerable margin the most important patron of the period.
Philip was also a considerable patron of other arts, commissioning many tapestries (which he tended to prefer over paintings), pieces from goldsmiths, jewellery, and other works of art. It was during his reign that the Burgundian chapel became the musical center of Europe, with the activity of the Burgundian School of composers and singers. Gilles Binchois, Robert Morton, and later Guillaume Dufay, the most famous composer of the 15th century, were all part of Philip's court chapel.
[Roger van der Weyden - Isabella of Portugal]
In 1428 Jan van Eyck traveled to Portugal to paint King John I's daughter Infanta Isabel for Philip in advance of their marriage. With help from more experienced Portuguese shipbuilders Philip established a shipyard in Bruges. Roger van der Weyden painted his portrait twice on panel, of which only copies survive, wearing the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece. The only original van der Weyden of Philip to survive is a superb miniature from a manuscript.
Jan van Eyck or Johannes de Eyck ( c. 1385 – before July 9, 1441) was an Early Netherlandish painter active in Bruges and considered one of the best Northern European painters of the 15th century.
There is a common misconception, which dates back to the sixteenth-century Vite of the Tuscan artist and biographer Giorgio Vasari, that Jan van Eyck invented oil painting. It is however true that he achieved, or perfected, new and remarkable effects using this technique.
[Jan van Eyck - The Arnolfini Portrait (1434)]
Jan van Eyck has often been linked as brother to painter and peer Hubert van Eyck, because both have been thought to originate from the same town, Maaseik in Limburg (Belgium). Another brother, Lambert van Eyck is mentioned in Burgundian court documents, and there is a conjecture that he too was a painter, and that he may have overseen the closing of Jan van Eyck's Bruges workshop.
Another significant, and rather younger, painter who worked in Southern France, Barthélemy van Eyck, is presumed to be a relation.
The Kingdom of Belgium is a country in northwest Europe. Belgium covers an area of 30,528 square kilometers (11,787 square miles) and has a population of about 10.5 million.
Straddling the cultural boundary between Germanic and Latin Europe, Belgium's two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north, with 58% of the population, and the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia, inhabited by 32%. The Brussels-Capital Region, although officially bilingual, is a mostly French-speaking enclave within the Flemish Region and near the Walloon Region, and has 10% of the population
A small German-speaking Community exists in eastern Wallonia.
Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political and cultural conflicts are reflected in the political history and a complex system of government.
The name 'Belgium' is derived from Gallia Belgica, a Roman province in the northernmost part of Gaul that was inhabited by the Belgae, a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples.
Historically, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were known as the Low Countries, which used to cover a somewhat larger area than the current Benelux group of states. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, it was a prosperous centre of commerce and culture. From the 16th century until the Belgian revolution in 1830, many battles between European powers were fought in the area of Belgium, causing it to be dubbed "the battlefield of Europe" and "the cockpit of Europe" -- a reputation strengthened by both World Wars.
The area of present-day Belgium has seen significant demographic, political and cultural upheavals over the course of two millennia. In the first century, the Romans, after defeating the local tribes, created the province of Gallia Belgica. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century, brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kingdom. A gradual shift of power during the 8th century evolved into the Carolingian Empire and culminated with the coronation of Charlemagne as ruler of The Holy Roman Empire.
During the Middle Ages small feudal states emerged, many of which rejoined as the Burgundian Netherlands in the 14th and 15th centuries.
[8400 Dufay / 8400 Binchois / 8398 Smert]