The Book of Beasts The medieval bestiary was a collection of descriptions and stories about animals, ranging from the mundane to the fantastic, which described moral and theological lessons to be learned from the natural world. We will explore music connected with several favorite creatures, including songs by Thibaut de Champagne and Richart de Berbezihl, and anonymous works from the Engleberg Codex and other sources. For this program, Marginalia is joined by Sarah Walker, narrator, who introduces the beasts with excerpts translated from medieval sources.
Launcelot: Sword and Sorrow This program explores the life of Sir Lancelot du Lac, alternating music with readings from medieval Arthurian sources. The story traces Lancelot’s journey from King Arthur’s greatest knight, through the Grail quest and his love affair with the queen, leading to tragedy in the death of Arthur and the fall of Camelot. Readings are drawn from Le Morte d’Arthur (Sir Thomas Malory, 1416-1470). The music comprises selections from the troubadour, trouvere, and Middle English repertoires, and Latin hymns. Composers represented include the knight and troubadour Bertran de Born, as well as St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a Cistercian monk who has been associated with Lancelot and the knights of the Round Table. Le Chansonnier du Roi: the Splendor of Thirteenth Century France The Chansonnier du Roi (Français 844) is a French manuscript likely compiled in the middle of the 13th century, commissioned by Count Charles of Anjou as a gift for Guillaume de Villehardouin, Prince of Achaea. It is one of the most significant sources for French and Provençal music of the thirteenth century, including numerous songs by trouveres and troubadours, as well as instrumental dances such as the famous series of Estampie Royals. In this new program, Marginalia explores the rich variety of the Chansonnier du Roi, including songs by trouveres Gace Brule and Guiot de Dijon, and troubadours Bernart de Ventadorn and Marcabru, and the complete Estampie Royal series.
Oswald von Wolkenstein: a Life in Song Oswald von Wolkenstein (1376-1445) was a Tyrolean nobleman and poet-composer. His works present a vivid picture of the composer's adventurous life as a knight, diplomat, and traveler, and range in style from unmeasured monophonic song to complex polyphonic pieces reminiscent of the ars nova. This program explores several unique aspects of Wolkenstein's oeuvre, including songs dealing with sea voyages, warfare, love, religion, and astrology, as well as one of his macaronic songs (written in a combination of seven languages), and one of the first autobiographical songs of the Middle Ages: the monumental Es Fuegt Sich.