The Roman de Fauvel
Catherine Bott examines the music and background to the 14th century Roman de Fauvel, a text satirising the State and Church. It is often referred to as the start of the Ars Nova.
Le Roman de Fauvel is a 14th Century text satirising the tendency of the State and Church towards misrepresentation and fraudulent behaviour. It reads like a great drama divided into two parts. In the first part Fauvel, who is a horse, determines to leave his stable and with the aid of Dame Fortune, take over his master's house. In the second part he is encouraged by Dame Fortune to marry a character called Vain Glory.
The Roman de Fauvel was a huge hit in its day and prompted one copy - now in the Biblioth�que Nationale de France - which attracted a wealth of music, written out alongside the lavishly illumined text. One of the composers is known to have been the great French musician Philippe de Vitry.
The importance of Le Roman de Fauvel is profound. The culmination of European Gothic Art, it is one of the best examples from the medieval world of a spoken drama with music, and is often referred to as the starting point of Philippe de Vitry's Ars Nova.
Catherine Bott looks back on the story and history of the book with the medieval expert Emma Dillon, who has written a book about Fauvel - and features a recording of its music by the Boston Camerata directed by Joel Cohen.
Translations from the text are read by Scott Handy and Caroline Martin.