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Neidhart and the village-villains
supported by the "Gesellschaft für das Gute und Gemeinnützige, Basel"
supported by the "Ernst-Göhner-Stiftung", Basel

Els Janssens-Vanmunster - voice

Baptiste Romain - vielle, bagpipe

Marc Lewon - voice, lute, vielle


One of the most renowned poet-composers of the late Middle Ages was a man often known today under the name "Neidhart von Reuental".  However, recent scholar­ship suggests that this surname is a 19th-century misnomer and that by his contemporaries he was simply called "Neidhart".  While his colleagues of the late 12th and early 13th centuries dwelled still in the idealistic realms of courtly love, the slightly younger Neidhart (c1180-c1240) turned such an ideal on its head  by placing his songs not in a courtly, but in a rural, even rustic setting.  His noble audience must have been delighted to listen to simpletons trying to imitate them in the art of love and, naturally, failing miserably.
The body of source material for Neidhart’s oeuvre is a windfall compared with that of other Minnesingers; with 55 surviving melodies, his music is by far the best documented.  The so-called "Frankfurt-Neidhart-Manuscript", although it survives in a fragmentary state, is the very earliest musical source for Neidhart’s songs, thus bringing us as close as possible to his musical world.  Moreover, the six melodies contained therein are also the earliest existing examples of German Minnesang in general.  It is therefore surprising that this source has not yet been duly appreciated.
In their concert and proposed CD-programme, Leones present all the melodies with their full texts from the early Frankfurt source, comple­mented by other extant Neidhart melodies arranged for instruments in the style of his time.  Since fiddle and lute are mentioned as the most popular of accompanying instruments for monophonic song, the singers work with these instruments to create a programme that combines the highest level of historical integrity with a seductive variety in instrumental colour.


download of the full project description (PDF, 259kb)


Neidhart-Blog with NAXOS ("behind the stage with Neidhart" - background information to the Neidhart recording for NAXOS)


Live recordings from the concert on the 5th of April 2010 at Heilig-Kreuz Church in Binningen:


"Der han" (mp3, 4,7mb)

"Svmmer unde winder" (mp3, 8mb)

"Clausula" (mp3, 4,5mb)

"Sinc eyn gulden hoen - Der munich" (mp3, 7,5mb)

"Ich claghe de blomen" - Neidhart (mp3, 10,2mb)

"Vil wol ghelovter got" (mp3, 3,7mb)