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Beghinae in cantu instructae, Musical patrimony from Flemish beguinages (Middle Ages – Late 18th C.)
ed. By Pieter Mannaerts
Turnhout, Brepols Publishers, 2009

ISBN 978-2-503-53015-4, 296 pages, 150 x230
At its Kyoto meeting on December 2, 1998, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee decided to include thirteen representative Flemish beguinages (begijnhoven) on its list of world cultural heritage sites. The beguinages selected – in Bruges, Dendermonde, Diest, Ghent, Hoogstraten, Kortrijk, Leuven, Lier, Mechelen, Sint-Amandsberg, Sint-Truiden, Tongeren, and Turnhout – more than met the UNESCO criteria. They are, after all, unique witnesses to a meaningful and influential cultural tradition with an unusual architectural value.

Within the gated walls of these beguinages, music was also made. The oldest sources with any clues to the music embellishing the beguinages’ religious services date from the thirteenth century, only a few decades after the inception of the beguine movement itself. Resonant, the Center for Flemish musical heritage and the Alamire Foundation, International center for the study of the music of the Low Countries, joined forces to give this hardly known, or even neglected, aspect of the beguine movement the attention it deserves. Their aim was to compile a repertory and study the musical heritage of all the Flemish beguinages.

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