Music for Alfonso The Wise
The Dufay Collective
Harmonia Mundi USA HMU 907390


1. Muit amar  [4:31]  CSM  36
PS harp · PB psaltery · GL oud · SP vielle · WL flute

2. Ontre todalas  [3:01]  CSM  323
SP vielle · GL oud · PS harp · WL frame drum · PB darbuka

3. Tant aos peccadores  [1:33]  CSM  315
GL oud · PS harp · PB psaltery · WL frame drum

4. Todo los santos  [3:07]  CSM  15
GL oud · PS harp · SP vielle · WL frame drum · PB pandeiro

5. Que muyto meu pago  [5:16]
cantiga de amor — poem: Airas Núñez | melody: CSM  263
VE voice · PS harp · PB psaltery

6. Quen a Virgen  [3:01]  CSM  103
WL flute · PB whistle · GL/SP saz · PS crotales

7. Bailemos nós ja todas tres  [2:57]
cantiga de amigo — poem: Airas Núñez | melody: CSM  116
VE/MS/SP voices · GL/SP vielles · WL simfony

8. Dansa (CSM  116): Bailemos nós ja todas tres  [2:24]
GL/SP vielles · WL simfony

9. Martin jograr  [2:56]
cantiga de escarnho — poem: Joam Garcia de Guilhade | melody: CSM  166
GL voice · GL oud · PS/PB/WL chorus

10. Macar e door  [5:00]  CSM  393
GL oud · PS harp

11. Non soffre Santa Maria  [5:56]  CSM  159
GL/SP rababs · PB darbuka · WL tabla · PS crotales

Martin Codax. Cantigas de amigo

12. Ondas do mare de Vigo  [4:32]   ca  I
VE voice · WL flute

13. Mandad' ei comigo  [5:52]   ca  II
VE voice · GL oud · PS harp · SP vielle · PB psaltery

14. Mia irmana fremosa  [2:17]   ca  III
VE voice · SP vielle

15. Interlude  [3:09]
WL flute · GL oud · PS harp · PB darbuka

16. Ay Deus se sab' ora meu amigo  [3:49]   ca  IV
VE voice · GL oud

17. Quantas sabedes amar  [5:49]   ca  V
VE voice · GL oud · SP vielle · PS harp · PB pandeiro · VE crotales · WL frame drum

18. InterludeEno sagrado en Vigo  [3:41]   ca  VI
WL flute · GL oud · PS harp · SP vielle · PB pandeiro — + VE voice

19. Ai ondas que eu vin veer  [2:18]   ca  VII
VE voice

Paul Bevan, psaltery, whistle, percussion
Vivien Ellis, voice   
Giles Lewin, voice, vielle, oud, rabab, saz
William Lyons, flute, simfony, percussion
Susanna Pell, vielle, rabab, saz
Peter Skuce, harp, percussion

with Moira Smiley,  voice

THE DUFAY COLLECTIVE was formed in 1987 to explore the rich and varied repertoire of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. A group of musicians who perform without a director, they have toured throughout Europe, the Middle East, India, Hong Kong, Australia, and the Americas. At home, The Dufay Collective appears regularly at London's main concert venues and can be heard in broadcasts nodes festivals all across Europe. This CD marks the group's harmonia mundi début.
For more information and a complete discography, please visit

· Vielles — Owen Morse-Brown, 2002 / Tom Eve, 1998
· Harp — Alice Marjerum, 1995
· Psaltery — David Bolton, 1998
· Simphony — Samuel Palmer, 1985
· Rababs — Raph Mizraki, 1996
· Oud — Trad. Yemen
· Saz — Trad. Turkey
· Flutes — Trad. India
· Whistle — Trad. India
· Frame drums — Trad. Morocco
· Pandeiro — Trad. Egypt
· Tabla — Trad. Egypt
· Darbuka — Trad. India
· Crotales — Trad. India


Cover: Alfonso X, 1221-84, King of Leon and Castile, called Alfonso the Wise
Index of Royal Privileges, 12th-13th-c. manuscript / The Art Archive /
Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela / Dagli Orti

CD Tray: The Toledo Bible Moralisée f.7v (vellum), Spanish School (11th c.),
Toledo Cathedral, Castile / Bridgeman Art Library
The Toledo Bible, also known as the Bible of Saint Louis,
belonged to Louis IX (1214-1270), King of France, who later gave it to Alfonso X.

Pages 4 & 11 (detail): Fol.5r The court of Atfonso X
miniature from the Cantigas de Santa Maria (vellum), Spanish School (13th c.) /
Biblioteca Monasterio del Escorial, Madrid / Bridgeman Art Library

Pages 8, 15, 19, 29 & 43: Miniature paintings from the Cantigas de Santa Maria /
13th-c. parchment codex in Galician attributed to Alfonso X /
Biblioteca Monasterio del Escorial, Madrid / Laurie Platt Winfrey, Inc.

All texts and translations O harmonia mundi usa

© Ⓟ 2005 harmonia mundi usa
1117 Chestnut Street, Burbank, CA 91506

Recorded December 16-18, 2002 at Wathen Hall,
St. Paul's School for Boys, Hammersmith, London
Executive Producer: Robins G. Young
Sassions Producers: Adrian Hunter /The Dufay Collective
Recording Engineer & Editor: Adrian Hunter
Design: Scarlett Freund

Music for ALFONSO the Wise

This recording features a wealth of music from 13th-century Spain. The focus is on songs and dances that may well have been heard at the court of Alfonso X 'El Sabio' (The Learned), King of Castile and Leon from 1252-1284.

Alfonso X is best known in musical terms for the production of the monumental Cantigas de Santa Maria, songs of devotion to the Virgin, but little is known of the secular poems and troubadour songs that were so integral to the cultural life of his court. This is largely due to the fact that, despite the copious poetry extant from this time, virtually no music survives to accompany it. This disc seeks to recreate a courtly context for poetry and instrumental music heard in the halls of Alfonso X.

In developing the project, the decision was made to employ existing melodies from period sources, especially the CSM, and adapt them to poems reflecting the varied themes and genres of courtly song that have remained silent for seven hundred years.

The songs included in the recording are, with one significant exception, by troubadours associated directly with Alfonso X's court. Primarily, two of the songs are by AIRAS NÚÑEZ, who is thought to be the main contributor to the narrative verses of the Cantigas de Santa María. They are a cantiga de amigo [track 7] and a cantiga de amor [track 5]. The third, by JOAM GARCÍA, is typical of the cantiga de escarnho, or scornful song directed at a fellow troubadour who has an attractive wife [track 9]. The music used for these three songs has been adapted from CSM melodies that particularly suit the mood of each poem.

The sequence of seven cantigas de amigo by the Galician troubadour MARTIN CODAX [tracks 12-19] is unique in that it is the only set of poems to have survived with music more or less intact. All but one have music in the unique manuscript that contains both words and music. Tantalisingly, the sixth poem, Eno sagrado, has staves provided but no music was ever inserted. We have therefore opted to provide a melody in keeping with the style of the other six that are intact. Codax (fl c.1230] was not associated with Alfonso X's court but his seven poems are included here as the sole surviving music-and-text combination from the 13th century. Melodically, the tunes have much more in common with the beautiful simplicity of those applied to the CSM than with those associated with the Occitan troubadours. The poems track the sequence of emotions experienced by a woman awaiting the return of her lover from the sea (a crusader, perhaps, or a fisherman). Her feelings shift from poem to poem, from the pain of separation to the joy of being in love, finally to the realisation that her loss is complete and he will never return. We have chosen to present this sequence as a complete entity, with instrumental interludes and improvisations between each song. The hypnotic nature of the melodies and verse is mirrored in the instrumental accompaniments, which rely on a minimal approach and the spontaneity of live performance. This, and indeed most of the music on the disc, was recorded in whole takes with as little editing and post-production as possible.

If the vocal music presents a performance challenge, then the exact nature of instrumental repertoire is impossible to recreate accurately. We know from court records and the stylised miniatures depicting minstrels in one of the CSM manuscripts that musical style and sonorities constituted a broad church at Alfonso X's court: as well as being a refuge for troubadours fleeing persecution, it apparently offered employment to Christian, Moorish and Jewish players, and one can only guess at the possible blends produced by such a rare juxtaposition of cultural influences. Again, we have used our judgement carefully but liberally in recreating instrumental ensembles and indeed the very dances themselves. Some of the music is deliberately, courtly, such as the opening sequence of four pieces taken from the CSM. The dance following Bailemos nós reflects the style of the farandole or round dance, using the typical instrument of the northern minstrel, the vielle. Other items are intentionally Moorish / Eastern in flavour, employing the instru- ments that had their roots in North Africa and the East, such as the rababa and oud.

Thus this recording focuses on a manifestation of the far-reaching influence of the troubadours, but emphsises the differences that were bound to have appeared in the cultured environment of the court of a learned king.