-.-.-.- my solo recital -.-.-.-


Travelling with Melodies

On the Road with a Medieval Piper



Silke Gwendolyn Schulze

pipe and tabor/triangle, shawm, recorders, double recorder, douçaine

Einhandflöte und Trommel/Triangel, Schalmei, Blockflöten, Doppelflöte, Douçaine



Innumerable melodies and a bundle of instruments - these would have been a medieval piper’s belongings as he wandered from place to place in the 12th, 13th and 14th century. He may have been travelling as a member of a prince’s retinue or have been sent on ahead to another country by his king as a musical greeting. He may have been appointed to a different court as part of a musical exchange or have been travelling from court to court as a free agent in search of employment.

Medieval musicians were drawn to annual fairs, royal weddings, councils and tournaments, which resulted in large gatherings of musicians. Pilgrimage routes and destinations were also meeting places of ménestrels from all around the known world. This would no doubt have encouraged a fruitful exchange: our imaginary piper was able to meet and present his songs to his fellow musicians, and in turn pick up new tunes, which then became part of his own repertoire and could be arranged for his own purposes.

This concert illustrates the versatile instruments as well as the rich and manifold repertoire of a medieval piper. Different colors and accents are achieved by the many different, fascinating, partly rarely heard and recovered instruments from the medieval times as well as by new arrangements specially made for them - just as a medieval piper would have done.

Music from Manuscrit du Roi, Chansonnier de Vallière, London BL Add. 29987 as well as from the collection of Cantigas de Santa Maria, by Guillaume de Machaut, Jehan Erart, Beatriz de Día, Guirut Riquier, Gherardello da Firenze et al.



Unzählige Melodien und ein Bündel Instrumente - so könnte man das Gepäck unseres mittelalterlichen Pfeifers beschreiben, mit welchem er zwischen dem 12. und 14. Jahrhundert durch die Lande zog. Vielleicht war er im Gefolge eines Fürsten unterwegs, oder er wurde von seinem König als musikalischer Gruss in ein anderes Land vorausgeschickt. Vielleicht kam er durch einen Musikeraustausch an einen anderen Hof, vielleicht war er aber auch freiberuflich unterwegs und zog auf der Suche nach einer Anstellung von Hof zu Hof.

Jahrmärkte, fürstliche Hochzeiten, Hof- und Reichstagssitzungen, Konzile und Turniere zogen Spielleute an, und es entstanden in der Folge grosse Musiker-Zusammenkünfte. Ebenso zählten Pilgerwege und Wallfahrtsorte zu den Treffpunkten von Ménestrels aus aller Herren Länder. So fand sicher ein reger Austausch statt: unser Pfeifer traf auf seine Kollegen, denen er seine Lieder präsentierte, und er schnappte neue Melodien auf, welche er in sein Repertoire aufnahm und für seine Zwecke arrangierte.

Dieses Konzert präsentiert das vielfältige Instrumentarium und das ebenso reiche wie unterschiedliche Repertoire eines mittelalterlichen Pfeifers. Verschiedene Farben und Akzente werden sowohl durch die abwechslungsreichen Klänge der teils selten gehörten und wiederentdeckten Instrumente des Mittelalters erreicht, als auch durch neue, eigens für diese Instrumente adaptierte Arrangements - so wie es ein mittelalterlicher Pfeifer getan hätte.

Musik aus dem Manuscrit du Roi, dem Chansonnier de Vallière, London BL Add. 29987 sowie aus der Sammlung der Cantigas de Santa Maria, von Guillaume de Machaut, Jehan Erart, Beatriz de Día, Guirut Riquier, Gherardello da Firenze u.a.


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SILKE GWENDOLYN SCHULZE © Susanna Drescher 1
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-.-.-.- The CD to this program -.-.-.-


The Medieval Piper

November 2017, brilliant classics

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"A specialist in wind instruments from the Medieval and Renaissance eras, Silke Gwendolyn Schulze takes listeners on a journey into the musical past of the courts and country fairs of Western Europe in the Middle Ages. Though little direct evidence has come down to us about individual composers and the instruments they played, she combines painstaking research and a vivid musical imagination to recreate the world of the aristocratic singer–poets and itinerant musicians – the troubadours and minstrels – who were an important part of every facet of cultural life at the time.

Knowledge of these musicians’ social patterns, illustrations of instruments and manuscripts of vocal music and wordless dances have informed Schulze’s reconstruction of the theoretical repertoire of one imaginary Medieval piper – the songs he would have learned, memorised and performed for the entertainment of others.

She performs a varied programme of pieces, some by great names of Medieval music such as Hildegard von Bingen and Guillaume de Machaut, some by documented courtly troubadours like Jehan Erart and Guiraut Riquier, some even posited to be by the King of Castile and Leon himself, Alfonso el Sabio, using a wide array of period wind instruments including pipe & tabor, two tabor pipes, pipe & triangle, six-hole flute, recorder, double recorder, shawm and douçaine.

A fascinating program conjuring up the life of a medieval piper, travelling the country to entertain at Royal weddings, tournaments, religious councils, court sittings and annual fairs, carrying a plethora of melodies and instruments.

The pieces on this new recordings are based on vocal source material, which is mainly taken from the “Manuscrit du Roi”, the “Chansonnier de Vallière” and the “Cantigas de Santa Maria” collection. Taking the text and vocal forms that underpin them as starting point the artist instrumented some of the pieces based on the individual features and playability of the instruments in question. As many of the musical parameters are not notated down in the manuscripts much is left to free imagination and improvisation, no doubt fully in style with the original performances."

more information and buying options on the brilliant classics website

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2 - Silke Gwendolyn Schulze (c) Elam Rotem, Mel et Lac
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3 - Silke Gwendolyn Schulze (c) Elam Rotem, Mel et Lac
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CD recorded in Peterskirche Blansingen by Daniel Comploi

Video filmed in St. Cyriak Sulzburg by Mel et Lac

Photos by Ricardo Simian & Elam Rotem

© Silke Gwendolyn Schulze 2013-2018
photos: Susanna Drescher