Ensemble Claude-Gervaise

Ensemble Claude-Gervaise. Early-music group formed in Montreal in 1967 by the flutists François Barre, Jean Gagné, Joseph Guilmette, and Gilles Plante, director.

Ensemble Claude-Gervaise

Ensemble Claude-Gervaise. Early-music group formed in Montreal in 1967 by the flutists François Barre, Jean Gagné, Joseph Guilmette, and Gilles Plante, director. Known at first as the Ensemble Pierre-Attaingnant, the group renamed itself in honour of the French musician Claude Gervaise (fl Paris 1541-55), whose spirited songs and 'danceries' roused the enthusiasm of its members. The personnel varies in number according to the program at hand but maintains a core of 10 regular members, at one and the same time singers and dancers. Most of them are members or students of the Faculty of Music and the Institute of Medieval Studies at the University of Montreal. To achieve authenticity in the interpretation of medieval and renaissance repertoire, its members have thoroughly studied the writings of the major theorists of these eras, including Arbeau and Mersenne.

The ensemble, which performs in costume, has given concerts in Canada, the USA, Mexico, and Europe, and has performed on CBC radio and TV. During its 20th anniversary year (1988), it set up its first concert series performed in Montreal churches. At the 1990 Festival international de Lanaudière, it presented a program of music from the court of Francis I. The ensemble has acquired over 300 early string, wind, and percussion instruments (some of them rare originals, others replicas, a collection considered one of the most important in Canada; see Instrument collections). The ensemble published a quarterly review, Carnet musical, 1971-5. Michel Desroches was publisher and Jean-Pierre Pinson editor. In 1971, the Éditions de l'Ensemble Claude-Gervaise published a duo for recorders - a fragmentary manuscript held at Saint-Gall, Switzerland.