L'homme armé (The Armed Man) was widely known in late-Medieval times in France, and its popularity continued on into the Renaissance and post-Renaissance eras, its melody appearing in many songs and employed as a cantus firmus for numerous mass settings, including ones by Josquin Desprez, Ockeghem, Dufay, and others. That its theme could serve so effectively in both popular and sacred realms attests to its chameleonic potential. Renditions faithful to the spirit of the song as it was sung in the fifteenth century are quite rhythmic and primal in character, sounding like spirited chant or early vocal music under the spell of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, but lacking instrumental accompaniment. Where the melody is used in various mass settings, however, its rhythmic drive is generally reined in, its color and vigor curtailed, but its thematic character yields greater depth and expressive range. The very brief and rather shallow text of L'homme armé warns that the "armed man is to be feared." Aficionados of early traditional music will find this song of great interest.
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Description by Robert Cummings
|2016||Coviello Classics||COV 91602|
|2013||Musique en Wallonie||MEW 1265|
|2009||Arthaus / ArtHaus Musik||104028|
|2000||Signum Classics / Signum UK||019|