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Guillaume de Machaut: Remede de Fortune

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A “Notable Recording of 2022”: Alex Ross, The New Yorker

BHCD 1012
Release date: November 4, 2022
Digital release date: October 21, 2022


A feast of poetry, song, and visual art animated by a surprisingly Zen-like philosophy, Guillaume de Machaut’s Remede de Fortune tells the tale of a woebegone lover who is counseled by Lady Hope on how to be happy and persevere in the face of the ups and downs dished out by Fortune and her Wheel. Machaut was at once the greatest poet and composer of 14th-century Europe, and the Remede is a narrative poem or dit, around 4000 lines long, with interpolated lyrics set to music. This live recording of a concert production of the Remede—a collaboration between two outstanding American ensembles, Blue Heron and Les Délices—includes all seven musical items from the Remede as well as a selection of other motets, songs, and dances, which take the place of the narration, express the emotions and thoughts of the Lover, and convey Hope’s teachings in lyric form. Four singers are joined by a delightful ensemble of medieval instruments (recorder, douçaine, fiddle, lute, harp, hurdy-gurdy, and percussion) in performances which are both spirited and deeply informed by the study of historical performance practices. The CD booklet contains complete texts and translations, an interspersed synopsis of the story, and numerous full-color reproductions of the pictures that grace the lavishly illustrated first manuscript copy of the Remede, prepared c. 1350 under Machaut’s supervision.

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Blue Heron
Scott Metcalfe, artistic director
Les Délices
Debra Nagy, artistic director

Owen McIntosh, ​tenor & drum
Jason McStoots, tenor
Debra Nagy, recorder, douçaine & harp
Martin Near, countertenor & tambourine
Scott Metcalfe, fiddle & harp
Charles Weaver, lute, baritone & hurdy-gurdy

Track Listing

1 Ci commence Remede de Fortune 2:02
2 Ballade: Esperance qui m’asseure (B13) 5:04
3 Lai: Qui n’aroit autre deport (RF1) 11:01
4 Motet: Hareu, hareu! / Helas! ou sera pris confors / Obediens usque ad mortem (M10) 1:57
5 Ballade: Gais et jolis (instrumental) (B35) 1:28
6 Complainte: Tieus rit au main qui au soir pleure (RF2) 8:37
7 Chant royal: Joye, plaisance, et douce nourreture (RF3) 6:42
8 Motet: Qui es promesses de Fortune / Ha Fortune / Et non est qui adjuvet (M8) 1:37
9 Baladelle: En amer a douce vie (RF4) 4:38
10 Ballade: Dame de qui toute ma joie vient (RF5) 4:56
11 Motet: Trop plus est bele que Biauté / Biauté parée de valour / Je ne sui mie certeins (M20) 2:36
12 Jehan de Lescurel (arr. Nagy), Virelai: Dis tans plus (instrumental) 1:14
13 Virelai: Dame, a vous sans retollir (RF6) 4:02
14 Messe de Nostre Dame: Kyrie I 1:01
15 Estampie Ay mi! dame de valour / Dame, vostre doulz viaire (arr. Nagy) 3:24
16 Rondelet: Dame, mon cuer en vous remaint (RF7) 4:46
17 Ballade: Biauté qui toutes autres pere (B4) 5:37
18 Motet: Trop plus est bele que Biauté / Biauté parée de valour / Je ne sui mie certeins (M20) 2:04

Total time 72:51


Watch the trailer from the 2017 production: