Personalities | Gilles Binchois | Medieval Era | Classical
(Zhel Bansh-wa’) c. 1400–60
Binchois spent his formative years in Mons (now Belgium) and appears to have led a remarkably static life. In the late 1420s he joined the itinerant Burgundian court chapel, and served there with distinction until his retirement in the early 1450s, continuing to draw a pension until his death. Although he left a substantial amount of sacred music, he is best known for his songs. He was a supremely gifted melodist, at times surprising, often charming and always memorable. He possibly had a formative influence on Ockeghem, who may have come into contact with him in his youth. The younger composer wrote a lament on Binchois’ passing, ‘Mort tu as navré de ton dart’ (‘Death, You have Sorrow in your Arrows’, 1460).
Mon souverain desir: Chansons, Binchois Ensemble (dir) Dominique Vellard (Virgin Veritas)
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