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Hyperion Records

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The anatomy of Man and Woman (Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, Ms65/1284 f14v) by Pol de Limbourg (dc1416)
Musée Condé, Chantilly, France / Giraudon / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67727
Recording details: July 2012
Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Loughton, Essex, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: October 2013
Total duration: 6 minutes 56 seconds

'Le Voit Dit is considered the masterpiece of the 14th-century French poet and composer Guillaume de Machaut. Whether or not it is a 'true' or autobiographically accurate tale, as the title implies, the nine songs embedded in Machaut’s anthology of verse and music speak plaintively and in a personal way of the pains and pleasures of love. Hauntingly and mellifluously sung by the four (but sometimes solo) voices of the Orlando Consort, this music still sounds as flavoursome as it must have done 650 years ago' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Here is a project for which Machaut fans have been waiting for a long time … this is an important and rewarding album that any lover of Medieval music will want to own' (International Record Review)

Quant Theseus / Ne quier veoir
4vv; Ballade 34
author of text
late 1360s; from Le Voir Dit; VD57/58

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Quant Theseus / Ne quier veoir (Ballade 34) is a song of which Machaut was especially proud. The lyrics are the product of a competitive lyric ‘joust’ between Machaut and a certain Thomas Paien, one of the composer’s real-life peers at the cathedral of Rheims, which forms an interlude in the story. In the narrative, Machaut laments how Thomas composed his own lyric (Quant Theseus) first, thereby taking ‘all the grease from the pot’ in terms of poetic conceits and imagery. Machaut endeavoured to surpass Thomas’s effort by providing a greater number of extravagant images, many from classical mythology. But from his comments to his lady, it seems that where Machaut considered he had trumped his opponent was in the musical setting he crafted for the two poems. Quant Theseus / Ne quier veoir is unusual in its scoring for two equal texted voices over two accompanying lower voices. The novelty of this song and its lyrics may explain why these were imitated and quoted by a variety of Machaut’s contemporaries.

from notes by Yolanda Plumley © 2013

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