Pilgrimage, Plague and Peril

Music from "The Calamitous 14th Century"

Fourteenth century Europe was in a state of almost constant turmoil. Civilized society seemed to embody a contradiction of high art and low morals. The social upheaval caused by the Hundred Years War and above all the Black Death resulted in an edgy insecurity bordering on madness which permeated all aspects of life.

This programme aims to explore the Ars Nova (new art) music of the 14th century, bringing to the fore the frenetic energy, furious rhythmic complexity and harmonic richness in evidence in the art music of this era.

The instrumental dance music of Northern Italy, popular pilgrimage music from Spain, and love songs from England and France all feature, with delightful and sometimes horrifying anecdotes from the time.

Performed by Misericordia and occasionally joined by top percussionist Terry Mann.

Premiered with Terry Mann at the Aust Early Music Festival 2001

English Medieval Music and Song

Exploring the small, exquisite but seldom performed repertoire of English medieval music

This programme features some of the earliest known songs in English, together with songs in Latin and in Anglo-Norman - the courtly language of 12th and 13th century England. The songs are on the familiar themes of love, death and devotion. Some are courtly, while others probably represent the folk music of the day.

Instrumental accompaniment uses harp, gems-horn, recorder, hurdy-gurdy and lute. The programme also includes various lively English dance pieces.

Premiered at the Lincoln Early Music Festival August 2001

Love and Death in the Middle Ages

with Storyteller Clive Fairweather

"Speech is the minstrel of God and the pleasure of Heaven."

William Langland, 14th century visionary poet.

A programme full of the strangeness and excitement of love, war and pilgrimage in Plantagenet times. A dynamic performance of music story and song, inextricably woven together, to create a magical and evocative tapestry of sound and imagery. Re-awakening the mischief and splendor of medieval Europe.

All the music and stories used are from Medieval sources and give a unique insight into the every day lives, not to mention the fears, fantasies and desires of the common folk of the Middle Ages

A skilled historical interpreter with a particular interest in medieval literature, Clive is one of the West Country's leading storytellers.

Premiered at The Aust Medieval Music Festival 2000

Coeur de Lion

Songs & Legends of the lion-hearted King

with Singer Translator and Orator Thor Ewing

Richard Coeur de Lion was the Troubadour King. He lived in a world which combined martial prowess with lyrical skill. Several songs survive, including one by Richard himself, which deal directly with the events that shaped his life and legend – his quarrel with Philip of France, his duel with Saladin, his captivity and struggle with the lion, and his faithful minstrel Blondel.

This compelling and intense one-hour programme tells the stories of Richard's life through song and music, and medieval prose translated and read by Thor Ewing.

Thor Ewing's interests encompass the history music and literature of medieval and early medieval Britain and Europe. His performances bring this heritage to life through music songs and stories.

Premiered at the Aust Medieval Music Festival Sept 2001

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