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On the death of Anne of Brittany, her husband King Louis XII honoured her with exceptional funeral ceremonies lasting forty days, which sealed forever her image as Queen of France and Duchess of Brittany. As he prepared this programme centring on the Missa pro defunctis of Antoine de Févin, and read the exceptionally vivid narrative by the herald of Anne of Brittany (whom her subjects nicknamed simply ‘Bretaigne’!), Denis Raisin Dadre realised that beyond all this official mourning staged by the royal authority, there was also a silent sorrow, that of the Bretons who had lost their duchess and were also in the process of losing their duchy’s independence. He wanted to make the voices of the people heard behind the voices of the king’s singers, and so he asked Yann-Fañch Kemener to contribute some traditional Breton gwerzioù. These solo songs act as a counterpoint to the complex polyphony which expresses all the pomp of royalty. His voice allows us to hear the Breton people, so attached to their Duchess Anne who had bequeathed them her heart and who are still extraordinarily attached to her today.

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