E-PULSE (Tower Records)


Robert Levine

GUILLAUME DE MACHAUT (ca. 1300-1377) was, during his lifetime, as well known for his poetry as he was for his music. His meters, his rhymes, as well as the music he composed to accompany them, are varied and architecturally odd: It isn't rare to hear two or more of the voices in a four- or five-part work singing at different tempi, and since line lengths within the works can also differ, the result is both intriguing and a bit confusing. Watching (as well as listening to) them performed, as some were at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art on June 22, is enormously helpful -- it's like looking at a blueprint. The "builders" (one might also say "decorators") at the event were the six-voice, all-male group called LIONHEART, and they brought the music and the poems to life. Aside from six chansons, the program was devoted to the "Remede de Fortune," a series of poems in different forms (ballade, rondelet, lay, etc) concerning a young man's first love, for varying number of voices. The solo singing -- often accompanied by an extra voice or two as drone -- was as riveting as the rich polyphony. A speaker, Alexandra Montano, kept the narrative going between numbers, and listening ideally in the Met's medieval sculpture garden, one became convinced of the young man's earnest passion. A transporting experience. (Levine) 

Click here for an excerpt from "Rose, liz printemps" in RealAudio. 

For details on this program, please click to The Cure for Love:  Music and Poetry of Guillaume de Machaut, 1300-1377


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