Longuement me sui tenus
(Lai 13/18) illustrates the form of the lai, which Machaut supposedly perfected. The lai, although archaic, continued to be revered in the fourteenth century as the most challenging and virtuosic of the lyric forms; Machaut was apparently amongst the last to set the form to music. These large-scale works were not just a challenge for the poet-composer, but also for the (usually) solitary singer who performs them: stamina, control, and endurance is required to deliver the twenty-four unaccompanied stanzas, as well as expressive powers to engage the audience throughout this technical tour de force.
from notes by Yolanda Plumley © 2013