The Leuven Chansonnier

Collectors of early music recordings will undoubtedly know of the fine reputation enjoyed by Ensemble Leones. Together with director Marc Lewon, they have set a new aesthetic standard for this repertoire. Ensemble Leones employs a range of performance possibilities, from a cappella ensemble to a mixture of instruments and voices, that readily transports the listener back in time with great authority and even greater pleasure.


The discovery in 2015 of a 15th-century parchment chansonnier still in its original binding was made still more startling because it contained twelve previously unknown, anonymous chansons. Most are rondeaus, and they range from the uncomplicated to the refined and elaborate; many bear musical indications that they are the work of the greatest composers of the period. In this recording they have been contextualised with other known songs but in the variant versions found in Leuven. As on their recording of the Chansonnier Cordiforme (on 8.573325), Ensemble Leones employs a range of performance possibilities, from a cappella ensemble to a mixture of instruments and voices.

Listen to an extract from
Donnez l'aumosne, chiere dame
About the Artists
Marc Lewon is an expert in Early Music, specialising in instruments of the lute family. His combined musicological scholarship and countless years of concert activity provide him with the ideal qualifications for an interdisciplinary approach to research and practice for the music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. He performs with his own Ensemble Leones, which he founded in 2008, and is a member of several other renowned groups, such as Le Miroir de Musique, Dragma, Peregrina and Per-Sonat. He holds a doctorate in music from the University of Oxford and in 2017 was appointed the professor of Medieval and Renaissance Lute at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.
Ensemble Leones, comprising Early Music specialists and founded by director Marc Lewon, specialises in Medieval and Renaissance music. The ensemble utilises historical sources to create subtle reconstructions and stylistically informed arrangements. One of the ensemble’s trademarks is the discovery of hitherto unknown works from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and the reintroduction of rarely heard instruments into the performance practice of Early Music. Through this pioneering work and reinterpretation of familiar works in concert and on record, Ensemble Leones has set a new aesthetic standard.
Early Music recordings featuring Marc Lewon
‘Marc Lewon and Paul Kieffer make a marvellous duo, with a lot of passages of truly mind-blowing skill and speed.’
‘The performances display the sensitivity to balance, clarity, and linear movement that I’ve noted in past recordings by Marc Lewon’s Ensemble Leones.’
‘The program is so imaginative, so astutely played and sung.’
American Record Guide
Das Glogauer Liederbuch
(The Glogau Song Book)
Songs, Comic Tales and Tails
Lutzenberger • Hummel • Lewon • Ensemble Dulce Melos
‘There are no gimmicks here, just honest, straightforward interpretations of the songs – and happily, these are voices that you can listen to with ongoing pleasure… exceptional and very satisfying release.’
A Minnesinger and his ‘Vale of Tears’:
Songs and Interludes
Ensemble Leones • Janssens-Vanmunster • Romain • Lewon
‘This superb [disc] proves that time travel is possible. To listen to these outstanding performances by Ensemble Leones…is to be transported back eight hundred years to an incredible period in the history of music and civilisation in general.’
MusicWeb International

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