This selection of nineteen essays by Nigel Wilkins, in English and in French, is characterised by an inter-disciplinary approach crossing the borders between music, language, literature, history, palaeography and iconography. The principal topic is lyric poetry in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, mostly French and English, both with and without music, and in various contexts. Guillaume de Machaut, the dominant poet-musician of the age, is the central figure: his influence is traced in poets such as Froissart, Deschamps, Christine de Pisan, Charles d'Orléans, Villon, Gower and Chaucer, and in the poet-musicians who came after him. The question of patronage is investigated. The development of the principal lyric forms, rondeau, ballade and virelai, is explored on both sides of the Channel, as is the way they were used, for example in miracle plays and in court entertainment. A Flemish painting of 1493 helps us discover the rÃ´le of music in the ceremonies of trade and religious guilds; a memorial brass from King's Lynn reveals the importance of music in the ceremonial of feasts. Wider themes are also explored, such as the association of music with the Devil, the use of several languages combined in certain musical contexts, and the controversial role of inspiration in musical composition.
Contents: Preface; Part I Old and Middle French Literature: Yet more concerning the tavern bills in Jean Bodel's Jeu de Saint Nicolas; The structure of ballades, rondeaux and virelais in Froissart and in Christine de Pisan; Charles d'Orléans: avec musique ou non?; FranÃ§ois Villon, poète universel; En regardant vers le paÃ¯s de France: the ballade and the rondeau, a cross-Channel history. Part II Lyric Poetry and Music in the 14th Century: The Codex Reina: a revised description; Some notes on Philipoctus de Caserta (c.1360?-c.1435); The post-Machaut generation of poet-musicians; Music in the 14th century Miracles de Nostre Dame; Guillaume de Machaut 1300-1377; The late medieval French lyric: with music and without; A pattern of patronage: Machaut, Froissart and the Houses of Luxembourg and Bohemia in the 14th century; Music and poetry at court: England and France in the late Middle Ages; Chaucer and music. Part III Musical Iconography: The birds, the bishop and the music of brass; Le fÃªte de la guilde des Archers du MaÃ®tre de Francfort (1493) et la musique des confréries. Part IV General Studies in Music, Language and Literature: The Devil's music; Le plurilinguisme au Moyen Age dans le contexte musical; D'oÃ¹ vient la créativité musicale? Le rÃ´le de l'inspiration dans la musique médiévale; Index.
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