In the Middle Ages, musicians worked within an oral tradition. Memory was the means by which knowledge and understanding were transmitted, and only when long use and tradition had fixed the performance of a piece was it copied out in manuscript. The work could then be read by others, and, in accordance with the medieval vision of the world, its memory was preserved anonymously for future generations. This is the fascinating world that the Ensemble Anonymus, founded in Québec City in 1978 and headed by Claude Bernatchez, has revealed through its exploration of the musical traditions of medieval Europe. With a creative approach inspired by research into historical background, Anonymus productions centre on a number of themes, examining both the sacred and the secular aspects of life in the Middle Ages.
Anonymus’ concerts include Inventio, La Rue des jugleors, Adventus, Llibre Vermell, Le Monde des goliards, and Noël, Paris, Notre-Dame, and many of these productions have been presented on the Canadian national broadcasting network. Stage shows such as Li Jus de Robin et Marion and O Fortuna, which combine medieval texts and music with stagecraft, have received public and critical acclaim in major cities in Canada, the USA and Europe.