The Captive Unicorn  /  The Renaissance Players

Maedieval French, Spanish, English, Italian and Latin Songs and Dances
from the 11th to the 14th century
Cherry Pie CPF 1036 2



Side One

1. Ogne homo  [3:20]  lauda
2. Gloria in cielo  [2:54]  lauda
3. Laude novella  [2:33]  lauda

4. Cantiga 35  [1:25]  Cantigas de Santa Maria   CSM  35
Alfonso X el Sabio, attr.

5. [6:03]
I sat in the chapel of St. Simeon   Mendinho
Ondas do mar de Vigo   Martin Codax   ca  I

6. Beneyto foi o Dia  [3:46]  Cantigas de Santa Maria   CSM  411
Alfonso X el Sabio, attr.

Side Two

1. Tempus est iocundum  [3:06]  Carmina Burana   CB  179
2. Veris dulcis in tempore  [5:50]  Carmina Burana   CB  85

3. In Rama sonat gemitus  [4:02]
This is probably the earliest known piece about Thomas a Beckett, Archbishop of Canterbury. He left England for exile in France in 1167, after extensive and insoluble clashes with King Henry II. Soon after his return in 1170 he was murdered by Henry's henchmen before the Chapel of the Virgin Mary inside Canterbury Cathedral.

4. Bryd one Brere  [4:15]
5. English Dance  [3:12]  estampie


Side Three

1. La secone estampie réal  [4:12]
2. Tant con je vivrai  [2:52]  rondeau — Adam de la Halle, ca. 1230–1237
3. La quinte estampie réal  [2:07]
4. Parti de mal  [4:20]  dates from the Third Crusade, 1189
5. Bergeronette, douche baisselete  [1:50]  Adam de la Halle, from Le Jeu de Robin et Marion
6. Danse royale  [5:51]  ductia

Side Four

1. Sa Sibil·la  [3:38]  The Song of the Sibyl
2. [Rubin] Saltarello  [3:55]  estampie in 6 sections
3. Qant li rossignols s'escrie  [3:33]
4. Saltarello  [3:53]
5. Reis Glorios  [4:44]  alba — Guiraut de Bornelh, fl. 1165–1199
6. Lamento di Tristan — La rotta  [4:06]

Winsome Evans

Winsome Evans, alto & tenor shawms, recorders, portative organ, psaltery, harp, drums, chitarra moresca
Ingrid Walker, recorders
Rosalind McGrath, treble shawm, percussion, saz
Michael Atherton, lute, ud, citôle, saz, chitarra moresca, nakkers
Jenny Tebbutt, bass viol, mandora, chitarra moresca, saz, san hsien
Andrew Allen, treble rebec, fiddle
John McLaughlin, fiddle
Wayne Richmond, gaita gallega, bells, tambourines, drum
Barbara Stackpool, castanets, finger cymbals
David May, poetry
Graham Pushee, male alto, baritone, drum, clapping

recording & post production: Sydney Opera House
sound engineer: David Connor
album concept, graphic, design, direction & production: Winsome Evans

Tapestries from the 15th cent. Franco-Flemish series entitled The Hunt of the Unicorn...
reproduced by kind permission of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, U.S.A.

Australian recording copyright: Grame Dawn Associates © 1978


Indian leg bells
portative organ
bass drum
finger cymbals
jingling johnny
small clay drum
bass tabor
small & large tambourines
cane beaters


hand bells
gaita gallega (bagpipes)
tenor shawm
alto shawm
treble shawm
Norwegian lur recorders


Celtic harp
bass viol
chitarra moresca
treble rebec
san hsien

The photographs of the instruments used by the Renaissance Players on this record are listed from left to right, from the top to the bottom step.
The Australian instrument makers were Peter Biffen, John Hall and Ron Sharp.

The tapestries which appear on the front and back cover are part of the late 15th century Franco-Flemish series, The Hunting of the Unicorn, which were made for the marriage celebrations of Anne of Brittany to the French king, Louis XII, on January 8th, 1499.
During the French Revolution the tapestries were taken from their location in the castle of Verteuil belonging to the Rochefoucauld family and used to protect potatoes from freezing.
John Rockefeller, Junior, purchased them in the early 1920's and eventually presented them to the Cloisters of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The 12th century Bishop, Honorius of Autun wrote of the unicorn as follows in his Speculum de Mysteriis Ecclesiae:

"The very fierce animal with only one horn is called unicorn. In order to catch it, a virgin is put in a field; the animal then comes to her and is caught, because it lies down in her lap. Christ is represented by this animal, and his invincible strength by its horn. He, who lays down in the womb of the virgin, has been caught by the hunters; that is to say, he was found in human shape by those who loved him."

In the early mediaeval bestiaries, the unicorn was a symbol of Christ, the virgin the Virgin Mary, the huntsman the angel Gabriel, and the story of the hunt was an allegory of the Incarnation. From the 13th century onwards, there was a tendency to interpret the legend of the unicorn captured by a maiden as an allegory of courtly love, transforming the religious theme to a secular one of courtship and marriage.

The Renaissance Players, a group of singers and instrumentalists is directed by Winsome Evans, a lecturer in the Music Department at the University of Sydney. The group was founded in 1966 and has a nucleus of 9 musicians, which is varied according to the needs of particular performances.

The group's name, The Renaissance Players, was particularly chosen to demonstrate its main function of resuscitating and giving new life to music of both the past and the present. The intention has been not to limit the repertoire to the so-called Renaissance period, but to expand as far backwards and forwards as possible. Under this banner the group felicitously perform a wide range of music dating from as early as the 9th century through to contemporary folk/rock and classical styles, using replicas of authentic instruments where possible and attempting to reproduce performance styles appropriate to whatever music is played.

The group's public recitals reflect the labour of copious research into various methods of decorating and extending basic musical structures, and into patterns of instrumentation — all of which were elements left entirely to the performers' discrimination and versatility during the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance period, as indeed they still are in much of present day popular music.

The Renaissance Players' concerts are presented in colourful costume together with poetry, dance, mime and clowning. The library of the Renaissance Players contains over 700 pieces, which have all been collected and arranged by Winsome Evans operating under a creative pseudonym.

As well as their regular performances in the Great Hall at Sydney University, and the Sydney Opera House, the group has travelled widely throughout Australia for the A.B.C., Musica Viva and various festival organisations. In 1974, the group undertook an extensive tour of seven countries of South East Asia from India down to New Guinea for Musica Viva Australia and the Department of Foreign Affairs as part of the Whitlam cultural exchange programme.

In addition to their regular concert performances the Renaissance Players have since 1973 annually presented the Runnymede Pop Festival in March; and since 1975, an annual Christmas Concert in December, in the Great Hall at Sydney University.

The Players also provide feature music for T.V., film, A.B.C. radio plays and special documentaries. As well, they have instigated four unique theatrical productions of mediaeval liturgical drama and 16th century commedia in musica. The music was researched, arranged and directed by Winsome Evans, and three of the four productions researched and directed by the late Professor Frederick May. The four productions were:

The Son of Getron (produced by John Milson)
The Play of Herod
The Slaughter of the Innocents
L'Amfiparnaso by Orazio Vecchi

Winsome Evans
October, 1978