Throughout the 2016-17 season, the pioneering New York-based early music ensemble TENET has explored the innovative works by French medieval composer Guillaume de Machaut, bringing to light his influential poetry and new polyphonic style. To close its season, TENET presents The Next Generation, a program of progressive works by Machaut, his contemporaries and composers of the younger generation who were influenced by him, including Magister Grimace, Antonello da Caserta and François Andrieu. The Next Generation will be performed twice on the evening of Friday, May 5, 2017, at the Tenri Cultural Institute.
The Next Generation opens with four seminal selections by Machaut which had a direct influence on the other works on the program. In Quant Theseus, Hercules et Jason / Ne quier veoir la biauté d’Absalon (“When Theseus, Hercules and Jason / I do not wish to see the beauty of Absalom”) Machaut sets his own extravagant poetry in an unusual scoring for the time – a double ballade for two high and two lower voices. The novel lyrics and setting were subsequently imitated by many of Machaut’s contemporaries. The ballades De toutes flours n’avoit et de tous fruis (“Of all flowers and of all fruits I had none”) and De Fortune me doy pleindre et loer (“Fortune I should blame and praise”), and the virelai Ay mi, dame de valour (“Ah me, lady of valor”) round out the Machaut portion of the program.
Little is known about the late 14th century composer Magister Grimace, to whom only five surviving manuscripts are attributed. His Se Zephirus, Phebus et leur lignie / Se Jupiter, qui donna seignurie (“If Zephyrus, Phoebus and their descendants / If Jupiter, who gave strength”) emulates Machaut’s Quant Theseus in its poetic and polyphonic structure.
Two anonymous works include an instrumental setting of Machaut’s De toutes flours and Dame qui fust si tres bien assenee (“A lady so well provided for”) which quotes from Machaut’s De Fortune. In a 21st century twist, TENET performs instrumental arrangements by the ensemble’s winds specialist Deborah Nagy of Machaut’s Dame vostre doulz viaire and Ay mi, dame de valour.
Italian composer Antonello da Caserta, scarcely heard of today, was one of the more renowned composers of the generation after Machaut. His ballade Biauté parfaite, bonté soverayne ("Perfect beauty, sovereign goodness") is believed to be the only surviving musical setting of a poem by Machaut which is not by Machaut himself.
The Next Generation concludes with the four-voice ballade Armes, amours, dames, chevalerie / O flour des flours de toute melodie (“Arms, love, ladies, chivalry / O flower of flowers of all melody”), the most notable work by François Andrieu, a lament set to texts by Machaut’s disciple Eustache Deschamps.
Throughout the Machuat series, TENET is applying 14th century performance practices which lend distinct colors to the palette of medieval sound, including French period pronunciation and instruments that mirror what is known of those used at the time.
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For further information, image or interview requests please contact Melanne Mueller, MusicCo International, +1 917 907 2785, email@example.com
For further information about TENET, please visit http://www.tenet.nyc
The Cycle of Invention: Guillaume de Machaut and the 14th century – The Next Generation
Friday, May 5, 2017 – 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm
Guillaume de Machaut (1300 – 1377)
Quant Theseus, Hercules et Jason / Ne quier veoir la biauté d’Absalon
De toutes flours n’avoit et de tous fruis
De Fortune me doy pleindre et loer
Ay mi, dame de valour
Grimace (d. 1350)
Se Zephirus, Phebus et leur lignie / Se Jupiter, qui donna seignurie
Instrumental setting of Machaut’s De toutes flours, Dame qui fust si tres bien assenee
Antonello da Caserta (active late 14th century – early 15th century)
Biauté parfaite, bonté soverayne
Instrumental settings of Machaut’s Dame vostre doulz viaire and Ay mi, dame de valour
François Andrieu (d. 1380)
Armes, amours / O flour des flours
Scott Metcalfe strings and guest music director
Jolle Greenleaf artistic director and soprano
Virginia Warnken Kelsey alto
Owen McIntosh and Jason McStoots tenors
Debra Nagy winds
Charles Weaver lute
Tenri Cultural Institute
43A West 13th Street
New York, NY 10011