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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.

58 minutes

Music Played

  • Anon.

    Le Roman de Fauvel (excerpts)

    Performers: The Boston Camerata, Ensemble Project Ars Nova, Joel Cohen (conductor)

    • APEX.
    • 2564 62038-2.
  • Anon.

    Motet 'Jure quod in opera' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    'Porcheier mieuz esire ameroy' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    'O varium fortune' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    Motet 'Quare fremuerunt gentes' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    'Ad solitum vomitum' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    'Virtus moritur' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    'Floret fex favellea' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    Motet 'Rex beatus' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    'Fauvel cogita', 'Veritas arpie' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    'Seigneurs et dames' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    'Douce dame debonnaire' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    'Ay amours' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    Motet 'Sicut de lingo parvulus' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    'A touz jours, sanz remanoir' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    'Douce dame debonnaire' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    'Fauvel cogita' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    Buccinate in neomenia tuba' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    'Le lai des Herlequines' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    'Ha Parisius' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    Motet 'Fauvel nous a fait present' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    'Floret fex favellae' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Anon.

    Motet 'Quomodo cantibimus' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

  • Philippe de Vitry

    Motet 'In nova fert'

  • Anon.

    Motet 'Maria virgo virginum' from 'Le Roman de Fauvel'

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