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A medieval summit meeting of music and politics

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


from l. to r.: Andrea Piccioni, Christian Braun, Gesine Bänfer, Ian Harrison, David Yacus, Michael Metzler

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




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