ICDBL.org© Guide to the Music of Brittany

«Classical» & Choral Music

Brittany is a land where all styles of music prosper, and numerous classically trained composers and musicians have been inspired by Brittany and/or have incorporated musical themes and texts from the Breton tradition. And Breton musicians better known for their pop/rock/jazz styles have taken up the ambitious task of creating symphonies.

Choral ensembles are relatively new in Brittany and often inspired by Welsh choirs. Those listed below perform in the Breton language, interpreting the Kantik (cantique in French) which are hymns from the Catholic Church. Choirs also interpret secular songs or new compositions specifically for the choir.

The recordings below are just a small sample of more recently released works.


«Dictionnaire des compositeurs de musique en Bretagne» Vefa de Bellaing.  Nantes: Ouest Editions, 1992. 280 pages.  
This is a thoroughly researched «encyclopedia of some 200 composers from Brittany or inspired by Brittany with biographical information as well as listings of works and recordings

«A 'classical' side to Breton music - Paul Ladmirault - Ami de Warlock», Keith Davies Jones. Bro Nevez 86, May 2003, pages 10-11. 

«Breton composer Jean Cras is paid homage in Pittsburgh», [Lois Kuter] & Paul-André Bempéchat. Bro Nevez 96, November 2005, pages 14-15. 

«Breton composers: Paul Le Flem», Keith Davies Jones. Bro Nevez 97, February 2006, pages 7-8.


Early Breton Music

Ensemble Vocal Féminin Colortalea.
Messe de Kernascléden et Livre vermeil de Montserrat. Escalibur 886. 1996 

Gérard Lomenec'h.
Musique sacrée au temps des ducs / Saint Vincent Ferrier et la Messe de Kernascléden. Ed. Du Layeur. 2000. (Book & CD)
Menestrel à la Cour de Bretagne. Coop Breizh CD 958. 2004.

Gérard Lomenec'h & Agnès Brosset (Colortalea).
Laïs bretons-Aux origines de la poésie chantée mediévale. Ed. Du Layeur 003. 2000.  (Book and CD)

Choral Music (secular and religious) and Performance of Cantiques

Anne Auffret, Daniel Le Féon & Loik Le Griguer.
Pardonioù Vol. 1, Coop Breizh CD 919, 2001 ; Vol. 2, Coop Breizh CD 920, 2002 ; Vol. 3, Coop Breizh CD 921, 2003.
Cantiques sung by Anne Auffret with bombarde and organ in duo or trio.

Various performers
Nedeleg e Breizh - Noël en Bretagne. Drop Studio. 2004.

Chorale de Plouguerneau
Missions et Pardons. KDM 604. 2004<
u>50 ans de chant choral breton. Self-produced. 2005.

Christian Desbordes.
La Passion Celtique-Ar Basion Vras. MCV 23. 1992. 2 CDs .
Theater piece with the Strollad ar Vro Bagan; features choral music and many soloists in an enactment of the Easter story based on old Breton songs as well as newer composition.

Ensemble Choral du Bout du Monde.
Nedeleg-Noëls Celtiques. Green Linnet GLCD 3124. 1998.
Buhez. Keltia Musique. ECBM 1000. 2000.  61'23.

Kanerien Pleuigner
Voix de Bretagne - Kanerien Pleuigner. Coop Breizh CD 971. 2005. 2 CDs, 90 pages of text.
Group of men singing together for 35 years, featuring traditional Breton language songs of the Vannetais region. 2 CDs feature secular and religions songs.

Kanerien Sant Karanteg.
Missa Armorica. Self-produced KSK 007. 2001
Tonkadur Marzhin. Self-produced  2004.

Mouez Paotred Breizh
Ce pays vers la mer. MPB 0305. 2005.
10th anniversary celebration of choir with a festival of men's choirs from various countries.

«Classical» composers / Symphonic music

Jean Cras
Mélodies, oeuvres de Jean Cras. Performed by Catharine Estourelle, Lionel Peintre, Alain Jacquon.  Timpini IC 1025. 1995.
Journal du bord, Ames d'enfants, Légende pour violoncelle et orchestre, Concerto pour piano et orchestre. Performed by Alain Jacquon, l'Orchestre philharmonique du Luxembourg, Jean-François Antondoli. Timpani 2037. 2 CDs. 1996.
Suite en duo, Quatre pièces, Poèmes intimes de Jean Cras. Performed by Marie-Annick Nicolas and Jean-Pierre Ferry. Skarbo D SK 4941. 1996.
Maritime-oeuvres pour piano de Jean Cras. Performed by Jean Pierre Ferey. Skarbo DSK 1986. 1999.
Premier quatour «A ma Bretagne» - oeuvre de Jean Cras
. Performed by Quatour à cordes de Chartres.  Auvidis BNC 112860. 1995.
Quintette avec piano, quatour à cordes. Performed by Quatour Lovigny, Alain Jacquon. Timpani IC 1066. 2002.
Polyphème. Performed by Orchestre Pilharmonique du Luxembourg. 3 CD set. Timpani 3C 3078. 2003.

Ensemble Arthus.
Kej mej - folles pensées. ART 2004
Two traditional singers, Véronique Bourjot and Ghislaine Le Guillant, join with a «Mozart style» orchestra and string quartet in performance of traditional Breton songs.

Pierick Houdy
Oeuvres pour harpe, oeuvres pour harpe et orchestre. Integral Classic 2221 131. 2003.

Paul Ladmirault
Intégrale des Sonates. (for violin, cello, clarinet and piano). Skarko, DSK 4952. 1980 recording released in 1990s
L'oeuvre pour piano. Performed by Louis-Claude Thrion. Skarbo DSK. 1962 recording released in 2001.

Paul Le Flem
La Magicienne de la mer, Fantaisie pour piano et orchestre, Symphonie No. 1 - oeuvres de Paul Le Flem. Performed by Orchestre de Bretagne. Timpani AS 1021. 1995.
Poèmes symphoniques. Performed by Orchestre de Bretagne. Disques Pierre Verany. PV 700021. 2001.
Quintette - Sonate violon et piano. Performed by Quatour Lovigny, Alain Jacquon.

Jef Le Penven
Symphonie Mor-Bihan, Cantate du Bout du Monde de Jef Le Penven. Performed by Breizh a Gan, Orchestre de Brocéliande. Escalibur 876. 1997.

Joseph Guy Ropartz
Petite symphonie, Pastorales, Sons de cloches, Sérénade champêtre et divertimento, de Joseph Guy Ropartz. Performed by Orchestre de Bretagne. Timpani K1034. Auvidis. 1995.
Trio pour violon, violoncelle et piano. Quatrième quatour, Prélude, Marine et chansons. Timpani IC 1047. 1999.
Le miracle de Saint-Nicolas, Psaume 136, Dimanche, Nocturne, Les vêpres sonnent. Performed by Choeur regional Vittoria d'Ile de France, Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy, Michel Piquemal. Naxos 8.555656. 2001 (Marco Polo 8.223774, 1994).
Le Pays. Lyrical drama performed by Mireille Delunsch, Gilles Ragon, Olivier Lalouette with Luxembourg Philharmonic. Timpani 2C2065. 2002.
La chasse du Prince Arthur; Cloche des morts, Soir sur les chaumes, Odelettes, Quatre poèmes. Timpani 1c 1073. 2003.
Symphonies No. 1 & 4. Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy. Timpini 1c1093. 2006.

Didier Squiban.
Symphonie Bretagne. L'OZ Production. L'OZ 31. 2000 57'24.
Symphonie Iroise. L'OZ Production. L'OZ 44. 2005
Jazz pianist Squiban works with composer Pierre-Yves Moign for works which include traditional Breton themes and instruments, piano and full symphony orchestra.

Alan Stivell
Symphonie Celtique - Tir na nog. Harmonia Mundi KE3 101. 2005 (Keltia III / CBS 88487. 1980)
This double lp has been released on CD and testifies to how Alan Stivell has always been in the forefront in innovation. He brings an international mix of voices and languages to this composition.

Tri Yann and L'Orchestre National des Pays de Loire
La tradition symphonique 2. Marzelle EPIC 519 1242. 2004
Folk-rock group Tri Yann joins with a symphony orchestra.

String Quartets

String quartets interpreting traditional Breton tunes

Arz Nevez.
Pevar en avel. Pluriel/Molène Musiques. GRI 19 123-2. 2000. 46'09.
Kerjadenn. Pluriel/Molène Musiques. GRI 19 155-2. 2002.

Maëlstrom - quartet à cordes de Bretagne. Keltia Musique KMCD 142. 2004.

Something Different!

Orchestre de Bretagne and Loeiz Guillamot
Per hag ar bleiz / Pierre et le Loup. L'OZ Production. L'OZ 43. 2003
«Peter and the Wolf» performed in the Breton language and in French.