La source de vie : At the time of the minstrels

Juifs et Trouvères - Ensemble Alla Francesca

LA SOURCE DE VIE - SUNDAY FEBRUARY 15th 2015 - 9h15 am - FRANCE 2 TELEVISION
A TV show hosted by Josy Eisenberg, with Hervé Roten, ethnomusicologist and director of the European Institute for Jewish Music.

In the Middle Ages, the minstrels songs were highly appreciated by the Jewish communities that were settled in the North of the Loire (Flandre, Picardie, Artois, Champagne …). Thanks to Hebrew manuscripts, copied in the end of the 13th century, we discovered texts of liturgical poems and songs written alternatively in Oïl language and in Hebrew. At that time, Jews did not how to write music. But the copyist sometimes wrote in the margin of the manuscript the title of the melody on which was sang the text. These titles come from the minstrel’s repertoire, court poets that appeared at the end of the 12th century.

From a collection of songs gathered by Colette Sirat, prominent specialist of medieval Hebrew manuscripts, it’s an entire cultural world -festive, religious and popular – that we discover through surprisingly lively music. The songs from religious celebrations (Rosh Hashana, Pessah...) follow juicy wedding songs and their instrumental dances. The religious poetry (piyyutim) speak with emotion of the tragic fate of Jewish communities of this harsh period, situated between the burning of the Talmud (1242-1244) and the great expulsion of 1306.

This TV show, discussed by musicologist Hervé Roten, is based on a concert by the Ensemble Alla Francesca (Brigitte Lesne, Lior Leibovici, Vivabiancaluna Biffi, Michaël Grébil et Pierre Hamon), Organized by Judith Schlanger, on July 20th 2014, introducing the 10th congress of Jewish studies.

Order the CD Juifs et Trouvères
Look at the article on Medieval Jewish Music by Hervé Roten and listen to the playlist
Learn more on the TV show La Source de Vie

Look at an excerpt of the TV show beneath

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