The culmination of European Gothic Art
Lucie Skeaping plays a selection of music by Niccolo Jommelli. Considered a pathfinder, steering music from the traditions of Baroque opera to the immediacy of Mozart's stage works, Jommelli's operatic reforms in the mid-eighteenth century made him a widely regarded figure in his day - ground-breaking and influential. His true significance is only now starting to be valued.
For song enthusiasts.
Le Roman de Fauvel is a 14th Century text satirising the tendency of the State and Church towards misrepresentation and fraudulent behaviour. It reads like a great drama divided into two parts. In the first part Fauvel, who is a horse, determines to leave his stable and with the aid of Dame Fortune, take over his master's house. In the second part he is encouraged by Dame Fortune to marry a character called Vain Glory.
The Roman de Fauvel was a huge hit in its day and prompted one copy - now in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France - which attracted a wealth of music, written out alongside the lavishly illumined text. One of the composers is known to have been the great French musician Philippe de Vitry.
The importance of Le Roman de Fauvel is profound. The culmination of European Gothic Art. It is one of the best examples from the medieval world of a spoken drama with music, and is often referred to as the starting point of Philippe de Vitry's Ars Nova.
Catherine Bott looks back on the story and history of the book with the medieval expert Emma Dillon, who has written a book about Fauvel - and features a recording of its music by the Boston Camerata directed by Joel Cohen.
Translations from the text are read by Scott Handy and Caroline Martin.
Very interesting subject it is.
Originally Posted by doversoul
A pity the recording of the Boston Camerata has been chosen for the musical illustrations.
Not even remotely the best choice imaginable, IMO.
Nevertheless, I'll definitely listen to it.
Roehre - I've rather liked Joel Cohen's work in the past - do you have particular reasons for disrecommending this Boston Camerata performance?
Originally Posted by Roehre
Who would you choose for the Roman de Fauvel?
Originally Posted by vinteuil
Strictly musically Joel Cohen's performance is IMO a good one.
It is the pronunciation which IMO misses much more than a touch of how the originals likely have sounded, which -in my ears- mares this production.
There are two recordings which I'd like to recommend: Jean Bollery with the Studio der Frühen Musik (EMI), or, my personally preferred one, by the Clemencic Consort with René Zosso (Harmonia Mundi).
Edit after listening to this Early Music Show broadcast:
Apart from the pronunciation, I think Joel Cohen's production altogether is too smooth, e.g. the brass at the "Paris" mvt or the final 2 songs we heard at the end of the programme.
Nice programme, btw.
Last edited by Roehre; 12-02-12 at 14:09.
Roehre - many thanks. I like René Clemencic a lot: I see I shall have to investigate further...
I bow to the experts on the subject of performers and performances. I'd just like to say that I really enjoyed the programme. My knowledge of the Roman de Fauvel was sketchy to say the least, based as it was on undergrad lectures of about 45 years ago! This was EMS at its best...plenty of music played, and enough of the background and of the Roman (spoken in translation by actors) to whet the appetite for knowing more.