The Study of Love – French songs and motets of the 14th century

The Study of Love – French songs and motets of the 14th century

Gothic Voices, Christopher Page (conductor)


This recording completes a three-part series featuring the songs and motets of the French Ars Nova, initiated by The Medieval Romantics (Helios CDH55293), and continued by Lancaster and Valois (Helios CDH55294). The title of this third recording is the most pertinent of all, for the poets and composers of fourteenth-century France did indeed regard love as a study. Our cover illustration is a reminder that the narrative poets of the period often present themselves as retiring individuals who have learned all they know of love from books. When the poet of La grant biauté speaks of ‘Nature’, for example, he uses a personification enriched by several centuries of thought and imagination in both Latin and vernacular (Chaucer’s Parlement of Fowles provides a fine example in Middle English), while figures such as ‘Envie’, ‘Desir’ and ‘Amours’, ubiquitous in these poems, evoke the tradition of the narrative romances whose authors were expected to share their knowledge of Biblical and classical story with their readers. If the scholar shown on our cover were not St Jerome, one might imagine him to be a poet checking his knowledge of Marticius (for Marticius qui fu), the basilisk (for Le basile), Euclid and Pygmalion (for Fist on, dame) or the labyrinth that Daedalus made for Minos (for En la maison Dedalus).

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