| Nicole Lassahn (2000) | Yossi Maurey (2000)| Virginia Newes(2000) | Catherine Saucier (2000) | Cynthia J. Cyrus (2001) | and Lawrence Earp (2002)|
The International Machaut Society sponsored three sessions and a business luncheon at Kalamazoo; all events took place on Friday, May 5, 2000.
The lai falls into three sections of decreasing size the first part, extending from stanza 1 through 5, consists of a series of variations on the double wound of the lady's glance, which inflicts both tormenting Desire and sustaining Hope. In the second part including stanzas 6 through 9, the poet describes the lady and her effect upon him. In stanzas 10-12 which make up the third part, he returns to the competing forces of Desire and Hope, until in the end he relies exclusively on the protection of Hope. In addition to this rather chronological reading, it is possible to see the structure of the lai as concentric In the opening stanza the poet declares that he has surrendered to love, while in the last he announces that he is a true lover. In both the second and eleventh stanzas he describes the pain of the arrow of Desire, which would have killed him, had he not benefited from the consoling presence of Hope.
In the third, he declares that he will love his lady to
the end of his days, while in the tenth declares such a pursuit a
'jolie vie'. The next two pairs of stanzas are in opposition. In the
fourth he describes a state of bewilderment as a result of love, while
in the ninth he has found his direction- l… [there] - in his lady.
Stanzas 5 and 8 oppose vision and speech, but in both he is subject to
the will of his lady. In the central pair, he considers that love of
such a lady is a 'most noble destiny'; sight of her causes great
happiness and delight.
The Lay de bonne esperance is one of the pivotal lyric interludes in the Livre du Voir-Dit, celebrating the narrator's success in love while acknowledging his debt to Hope. Although designed to enhance its metrical structure, the music of the lai is more than a mere imprint of the text. Even within the framework of a monophonic and largely syllabic setting, the composer's artful play with purely musical features such as ambitus, pitch center, rhythmic articulation, and melodic motive display a level of craft and subtlety worthy of his intricately formed poetry.
As in most of Machaut's lais, the twelfth and final stanza follows the metrical structure of the first and is sung to the same melody set a fifth higher. This shift in ambitus and pitch center takes place in stages,, evidence of a large-scale plan encompassing all twelve stanzas. At the same time, the melodies of individual stanzas articulate the poetic structure not only by observing line endings and versicle divisions but also through subtle transformations of rhythmic and melodic motives that suggest parallels between sections while avoiding literal repetition.
The tenor's musical source, however, has always remained a mystery. Contributing to the difficulties in identification are the unusual (for Machaut's motets) four-voice texture, and some complex contrapuntal procedures. In addition, given the fact that only eleven fourteenth-century motets have exact matches between their tenor melodies and their corresponding chant segments in extant MSS, it was perhaps not surprising that a convincing musical source has never been suggested. In this paper, I propose that the tenor's melody in Machaut's motet 5 is taken from a popular saint's office which includes a chant containing the text 'fiat voluntas tua.' The melody is found in a MS from a town about 10 miles from Reims. Significantly, two other exact matches of Machaut's tenors come from that city.
Machaut's Motet 10, Hareu! Hareu! le feu / Helas! ou sera pris confors / Obediens usque ad mortem, simultaneously presents images of the fire of passionate love alongside willing obedience to the point of death. The two upper voices expose the consequences of an ardent and passionate love which sets the lover's heart on fire. The tenor voice meanwhile evokes Christ's willingness to sacrifice his body on the Cross by quoting the words `obediens usque ad mortem' from the Gradual for the evening mass of Holy Thursday.
Situating motet texts within their courtly, intellectual, and religious contexts exposes otherwise hidden connections between various images and ideas. Extending our analysis of the motet genre beyond its surface structure into the realm of ideas and patterns of thought from the period during which the genre flourished broadens our horizons of understanding, and allows for a wider range of interpretive possibilities.
The four central images which constitute the thematic content of Motet 10, fire, love, obedience, and death, can all be situated within the world of medieval courtly love. The metaphors of fire and burning to symbolize desire, in particular, occur frequently in secular love poetry. Keeping these courtly uses of the fire metaphor in mind, we should not, however, allow a secular interpretation to rule out other interpretive possibilities. Images of fire appear in the Bible as well as in sermons, spiritual treatises, and mystic writings throughout the patristic and medieval periods.
This paper proposes a consideration of the textual content of Motet 10 from a largely spiritual perspective. Following a discussion of the tenor source and its placement within various services in the Christian liturgical year, I proceed to examine interpretations of the themes of fire, love, and death, which Machaut develops in his upper voices, within a selection of spiritual treatises as I look for possible connections between theses themes and the liturgical tone of the tenor voice. I survey passages fom the Song of Songs and the Glossa Ordinaria, as well as mystic writings by Richard of Saint-Victor, Richard Rolle, and Henry Suso, all works which circulated widely within clerical circles of Machaut's period.
By thoroughly grounding ourselves in the liturgical background of the tenor voice as well as exploring the vast collection of medieval religious writings which elaborate on the themes of the upper voices, we become aware of the wealth of spiritual ideas which connect the textual themes of Motet 10. Familiarity with this pool of associations not only enlarges our resources for interpreting the textual content of Machaut's motet, but allows us to more fully comprehend the polytextual structure of the motet genre.
Using the Confort d'Ami as a comparison, this
essay explores the ways in which narrative strategies themselves, in
particular exemplum and models of ideal kingship, construct the
political and historical content of the Voir Dit. I argue that
there is a shift from the earlier piece both in that political and
historical content, and also in the use of these narrative strategies.
This shift is more than a change in the content of the political and
military matter represented. It is also a change in attitude toward
narrative itself, and what constitutes an appropriate or true
narrative. Moreover, it is not simply that political models and
narrative strategies are analogs which shift in similar fashion; the
two are interconnected here in a necessary way, and when they change,
they change together. It is, in fact, the change in the way that exemplum
works that shows why the change in political model is necessary. Thus,
reading the shift in Machaut's political models turns out to be not
only a way in which the Voir Dit is voir, historically,
but also a powerful tool for understanding Machaut's work as narrative,
and as literature.
The International Machaut Society sponsored three sessions and a business luncheon at Kalamazoo, May 3-6 2001. Those sessions were all on THURSDAY, MAY 3rd:
Guillaume de Machaut's Remede de Fortune is a tale of the maturation of a lover and of his emotional initiation into courtly love. Through encounters with his lady and with the allegorical figure of Hope, the lover grows from a naïve, innocent, despairing youth to an optimistic, hopeful, modestly self-promoting courtier. Much of the emotional action, as it were, takes place in a fictionalized Garden of Hesdin and is borne out through the style of lyric insertions chosen to make manifest each stage of the lover's transformation. The choice of lyric genre reflects the relative maturity of the poet/lover.
In his youth, the lover is garrulous, amused at rhyme patterns, interested in exploiting emotional and verbal extremes, as seen through the lai and the complaint. As he experiences the garden, his thoughts turn to inner ideals balance and symmetry, fin'amours, contemplative love, love that is sufficient unto itself, represented by the chant royal and the baladelle. As he returns from the garden, he finds applying these ideals to be harder in real life than in the realm of imagination or cogitation; he has some luck with the idea of joyful love and fin'amours, but less with the notion of sufficiency and emotional constancy. The ballade and the prayer reflect this stage of his growth. Finally, with the help of his lady, he is brought through to maturity, and his songs--a virelai and a rondelet--reflect the courtly patterns to which the mature poet/lover will return time and again. The themes of these last songs are artful, conventional, and depersonalized; they partake of courtly love, but they do not threaten the established social order. In short, the eight lyrics of the Remede provide an encyclopedic digest of forms and moods, but they also provide an emotional narrative to accompany the larger poetic narrative of Machaut's dit.
Please note that session descriptions stem from the original call for papers
This session is meant as a forum for investigation of Machaut's interaction - broadly conceived -- with his context(s) and contemporaries. For example, we would welcome comparative work on Machaut and other authors and musicians from his time, particularly Chaucer, Vitry, and Froissart. Papers might also explore questions of literary and musical sources and influences, including either his influence on others, or his adaptation of his own sources. Papers might also investigate political questions and court contexts or issues of patronage. "Intellectual milieu" might also provide a means for talking about Machaut's audience his readership, audiences and venues for performance of his musical compositions, and issues of manuscript transmission.
For this session, we welcome papers addressing how you have successfully taught Machaut, especially the Remede de Fortune. We are interested in papers focussing on musical or literary aspects or both, emphasizing new approaches. We are particularly interested in approaches that 1) are useful in an interdisciplinary setting, or 2) use various multimedia materials, such as the NEH-Mt. Holyoke Medieval Lyric materials. Papers should be between 15 and 20 minutes in length.
This session proposes to explore the concept of "dissonance" in the oeuvre of Machaut and his close contemporaries. In Western music generally, the function of dissonance has been to create harmonic tension or motion, and its resolution has been a constant element of style, typically constituting a cornerstone of harmonic theory and practice in various periods. One of the most intriguing aspects of the Ars nova repertoire, however, is precisely that its practical conception of dissonance treatment has proved to be notoriously intransigent to account for, and this is especially true in the music of Machaut himself. By extension, dissonance can also refer to the lack of harmony in non-musical spheres (e.g., poetic structure or content), again presumably requiring (though perhaps not always successfully achieving) resolution. We therefore encourage considerations of all aspects of Machaut's treatment of dissonance, musical and otherwise.
This work is based on research I carried out in reviewing Graeme M. Boone, Patterns in Play: A Model for Text Setting in the Early French Songs of Guillaume Dufay (1999). Based on a study of the thirty-nine Dufay chansons in GB-Ob 213, Boone establishes that Dufay observed an unwritten convention or "model," a set of consistent principles that guided the composer in setting text in his early chansons. In my paper, I will show that the model also lies behind Machaut's texting practices. In effect, departures from the model can be considered as a kind of dissonance, a "declamatory dissonance." Performers will find that awareness of the convention resolves certain ambiguities of text underlay, and projection of the model in performance guides possibilities for phrasing. Finally, we as listeners should train ourselves to hear declamatory consonance and dissonance, since composers self-consciously play off it as a parameter of musical expression.
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