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date: 19 October 2019


  • Frank Dobbins


City in France, capital of Picardy. Christianity was introduced in the 4th century, St Firminus being the city’s first bishop. The cathedral of Notre Dame, the largest in France, was built between 1220 and 1270. During the Middle Ages the town’s prosperity was based on the cloth trade. By the Treaty of Arras (1435) King Charles VII ceded Amiens to Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy, but Louis XI recaptured the city in 1471 and, except for brief occupations by the Spanish in 1597 and the Germans in 1914 and 1940, the town has since remained part of northern France.

The history of the city’s music centres on the cathedral. The first evidence of plainchant dates from after the Norman invasion, when Bishop Gervin (1091–1102) engaged several choirboys, clerks and a cantor named Rogerus. Surviving manuscripts include a late 13th-century ‘Liber ordinarius’ in troped plainchant and a 14th-century ‘Liber organicus’ in polyphony. By ...

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