A first post from the performance workshop with graindelavoix, sponsored by the Leverhulme Trust and held at St Hugh’s College, Oxford in March 2017.
This is the first of a series of posts giving the audio tracks and an introduction for the songs from Douce 308 that we workshopped in Oxford in March 2017 with graindelavoix and my students and postdocs. This first song, Amins ki est li muez vaillans (RS365) is a jeu-parti included seamlessly and without a new large initial letter, separate index listing, or number after JP27, thus given the number JP27a. As well as being found in an eight-stanza version in Douce 308, the text is found in TrouvC with empty staves and in TrouvO with notation, although with only the first three stanzas of text. The notation in TrouvO reveals that this is one of a number of texts that were sung to the tune of Bernart de Ventadorn’s widely copied song, Can vei la lauzeter, which is why listeners might recognize the melody. (The Douce 308 texts can be found starting on f.190v if you follow the link to the manuscript images here.)
The JP text stages a debate between woman and a man, with the woman asking which is better: the lover who comes and takes all his desire quickly and leaves, or the man who stays all night but does not do the whole deed? The man, responding in stanza 2 argues for the first option, claiming that desire needs sating; the woman therefore agues the other side. The text is replete with musical and textual parallels in the two sides of the argument and the man ultimate breaks into the regular pattern of stanzaic alternation to wrest the seventh stanza from the woman mid-way through (the pretext is his answer of what is surely a rhetorical question on her part). The laughter at the end of the track was occasioned by the singer playing the woman (Meghan Quinlan), storming offstage in extreme disapproval at this terrible behaviour.
The tracks below give the song first in an English singing translation by Meghan Quinlan (the singer of the male part is Joseph Mason), and then in the original French, sung by members of graindelavoix. Much of the acting is audible in the audio, but I hope also to post video footage as well, which will show just how many additional possibilities for generating meaning from these pieces are available when performed as a ‘scene’.
English version of JP27a: Meghan Quinlan and Joseph Mason:
French version of JP27a: Anne-Kathryn Olsen and Adrian Sîrbu:
(Accompaniment in both recordings by Thomas Baeté)