La source de vie : At the time of the minstrels

FRANCE 2 TELEVISION - Sunday February 15, 2015

A TV program hosted by Josy Eisenberg, directed by Pascale Kenigsberg-Cahen, with the participation of the Od Yossef Haï Foundation. Featuring an excerpt of the concert “Jews and trouvères” performed by the Ensemble Alla Francesca on July 20, 2014, in Paris. With Hervé Roten, ethnomusicologist and director of the European Institute of 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 at the end of the 13th century, we discovered texts of liturgical poems and songs written alternatively in the Oïl language and in Hebrew. At that time, Jews did not how to write music. But the copyist sometimes wrote the title of the melody on which was sung the text in the margin of the manuscript. These titles come from the minstrel’s repertoire, court poets who 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 Hashanah, Passover…) 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
Read the article on Medieval Jewish Music by Hervé Roten and listen to the playlist
Learn more on the TV show La Source de Vie

Watch other videos of La source de vie

Visionner des extraits de cette émission

You may also like

François Meïmoun, Kaddish for mezzo & string quartet

The music score of his Kaddish for mezzo-soprano and string quartet, edited by the EIJM’s publishing house, was performed as…

Concert The New Jewish School of Saint-Petersburg

June 16, 2022 at 8pm, at the Archives nationales / Hôtel de Soubise - Paris. Concert organized by the EIJM,…

Jacques Arnold, a life serving chazanut

In the collection « Life courses », discover the endearing personality of the cantor Jacques Arnold, who tells us about…