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Concilium zu Constanz 1414-1418
A medieval summit meeting of music and politics

The latest co-production between ahalani records and the German national cultural radio station Deutschlandfunk Kultur is out! The CD can be ordered at our web shop Review copies can be obtained by writing to the record company at office{at}


concilium cd cover


The Council of Constance did not start well for Pope John XXIII. In the late autumn of 1414 he was thrown out of his coach in Voralberg, shortly before Constance. It was a bad omen. It was after all he who together with the Roman-German King Sigismund had initiated the Council. The political and spiritual elite of Europe assembled at this summit meeting with their trumpeters and shawm players, their choir singers and their composers in their retinues, following their employers wherever they went in pursuit of power and glory. The many Masses and Offices during the Council was accompanied by singing of the highest quality, while from the church towers the trumpets and shawms blew music both loud and artful to herald the arrival of the honourable guests. Eyewitness Ulrich Richental described in his Chronicle of the Council the state entrance of King Sigismund and his retinue:

"…the pipers and trumpeters started to pipe and trumpet so loudly that no-one could hear his own words"

In 2018, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the ensemble and the 600th anniversary of the end of the Council of Constance, Les haulz et les bas created a programme of music as it may have sounded during the Council. This CD and concert programme includes music by some of the greatest composers of the middle ages, including Guillaume Du Fay, who was present at the Council as a choirboy, and of whom Pierro de Medici said he was "the greatest ornament of our age", Antonio Zachara da Teramo, secretary and composer to the Antipope who disappeared from all records when the Antipope escaped from Constance, Johannes Ciconia whose motet Doctorum principem was dedicated to Francesco Zabarella, one of the planners of the Council, and Oswald von Wolkenstein, the famous singer, poet and composer, who entered King Sigismund's retinue in Constance in 1415 and left his own memorial as a bruiser, groper, womaniser and political journeyman in his own songs. Wolkenstein must have heared many of the French and Italian songs which he used for his contrafacts in Constance.

Gesine Bänfer - shawm, bombard
Ian Harrison - shawm, bombard, bagpipe
David Yacus - buisines, slide trumpets
Nathaniel Wood - buisines, slide trumpets
Nora Thiele - timpani, nakers, percussion
Andrea Piccioni - tamburello, tammorra, percussion

Les haulz et les bas

"Les haulz et les bas - one of the most exciting wind ensembles of the present "

Welcome to the web site of Les haulz et les bas - the International prizewinning ensemble for medieval and renaissance wind music. 2018 marked 25 years of Les haulz et les bas. We celebrated with an anniversary concert at the Utrecht Early Music Festival of our new programme, 'The Good, the Bold and the Fearless' - Music for the Dukes and Duchess of Burgundy. This and othe programmes which we have created during the last 25 years are available for booking. By clicking on the bar on the left you can obtain more information and listen to samples of our music.


John the Fearless

Philip the Good

Charles the Bold

Mary of Burgundy

John the Fearless, Philip the Good, Charles the Bold and Mary of Burgundy ruled Burgundy from 1404 to 1482 and turned its Court into a centre for the arts unparallelled throughout Europe. The list of composers they patronised reads like a 'who's who' of medieval music: Guillaume Du Fay, Gilles Binchois, Alexander Agricola, Robert Morton, Antoine Busnois... This programme by Les haulz et les bas combines the whole range of sounds of medieval art music: the brilliant sound of the alta capella of shawms and slide trumpet, the intimate soft ensemble of harp, dulcimer and fiddle and a virtuoso vocal ensemble.


Alta Capella
Soft Ensemble
Vocal Ensemble
Hans Memling, The Last Judgement (1471, details)

Gesine Bänfer (D) - shawms, bagpipes, dulcimer
Ian Harrison (GB/D)- shawms, bagpipes, voice
David Yacus (USA/D) - slide trumpet
Miriam Andersén (S) - voice, harp, percussion
Julian Podger (GB/A) - voice
Susanne Ansorg (D) - fiddle, rebec


LES HAULZ ET LES BAS on youtube:

Se la face


We would like to inform you about a book release:

This wonderful, lavishly illustrated book is the product of Prof. Dr. Heinz Stefan Herzka's countless voyages to the places in the world where the shawm is still played and his researches into the three-thousand-year-old history of the instrument.



Les hautbois / Schalmeien

pictures from three millennia (2017) 340pp., 174 pictures

This bilingual (French/German) book is only obtainable directly from the author and can be ordered from Prof. Herzka at the following address: herzkadoc{at}



Music of the Angels
Renaissance Winds
Ad modum tubae
Council of Constance
Johannes Ciconia
The Good, the Bold and the Fearless
Early Folk Music
Mediaeval Summits
Orient & Occident

Early Music & Jazz
ars supernova

Winds & Dance
Alta Danza
A Grand Renaissance Ball

Multimedia Productions
...and he called for his pipers three
Plus Ultra
The Notebook of Zorzi Trombetta

Les haulz et les bas & belladonna
Missa Sevillana

Programmes for Children