March 2022 Newsletter

Hello all! As the year marches on, so do plans for Medieval Music in the Dales 2022! The programme for the September festival is now confirmed and online here. You will also find links there for printable PDF version of the programme and schematic timetables as well.

MMitD Online 2022

If you haven't booked yet for MMitD Online 2022, please do - we've got a great programme lined up. The dates are this very weekend, 19-20 March 2022. Also, if you can't make it actually on the day, then all ticket holders will get the link to watch the festival online for up to three months after the event.

More information and booking for MMitD Online here.

Last year we had well over 100 screens join us for our Online Festival but - as life gets back to something like normal for many of us at least - bookings have been slower this year. I really want to carry on with MMitD Online every March but it might be difficult if bookings remain low. So if you do feel like it, please book!

A quick reminder of what's on offer this coming Saturday and Sunday:

  • loads of performances by ensembles from all round the world

  • live music from Leah Stuttard and Vivien Ellis

  • a playalong workshop on virelais with Lizzie Gutteridge

  • visits with instrument makers Asier de Benito and George Stevens

  • a talk on using medieval manuscripts (from me!)

Again, you can watch live or on catch-up.

Booking for September

Booking opens for Friends of MMitD at noon on March 21st. All Friends should have received information about the booking process (all the lovely Friend discounts!), but if you haven't it has probably got lost in Spam or something. Drop me a line and I'll be in touch directly.

Booking for everyone else opens at noon on May 1st. I'll be sending out the link in next month's newsletter.

Booking for the Summer School will similarly open on May 1st.

Musical manuscripts

If you are like me, you can happily spend hours browsing the wonderful digital versions of medieval manuscripts that we are now so lucky to have on line. I thought I might highlight three of my favourites...

The Codice de los Musicos

This is one of the several versions of the Cantigas de Santa Maria, and is famous for its many images of medieval musicians.

Every tenth cantiga (so number 10, number 20, number 30 etc) is a hymn of praise to Holy Mary, and it is before each one of these that the musician images are found. The way the lute pokes out of this particular miniature is really charming!

These incredibly detailed images were created in the third quarter of the thirteenth century, and are a simply invaluable repository of information on instruments and playing positions of the time. There's social history too: female players (all of percussion) are included, as are musicians from different ethnic groups. And then of course, there is all the wonderful music of over four hundred cantigas...

The Musicians Codex has only recently been digitised but is now available in all its glory here in the digital collection of the Real Biblioteca del Monasterio de El Escorial (ref. RMBE. Patrimonio Nacional).

The Chansonnier du Roi

This is a particular favourite of mine, because it combines my two passions of medieval music and the period of medieval Greek history that I studied for my doctorate. Recent research has shown that this manuscript - one of the most important sources of trouvere and troubadour music - was originally associated with the Frankish Prince of the Morea (in southern Greece), William II de Villehardouin. Indeed, it is the only source for two of William's own songs, and it was a real thrill to research and recreate these pieces for Trouvere's album 'Music for a Medieval Prince'. I think we are the only modern musicians to have performed these two.

Although the Chansonnier has suffered damage in it complex history, it is still a wonderfully accessible source, packed with gorgeous tunes. These include the collection of estampies and danses that represent the earliest surviving European instrumental dance music. You can access the Chansonnier via the French Bibliothèque National's digital collection Gallica, here.

Llibre Vermell de Montserrat

The Red Book of the abbey of Montserrat, in Catalonia, contains a splendid collection of songs prepared for pilgrims to sing.

The work was compiled right at the end of the fourteenth century, and the purpose of the songs is explicitly set forth: "Because the pilgrims wish to sing and dance while they keep their watch at night in the church of the Blessed Mary of Montserrat, and also in the light of day; and in the church no songs should be sung unless they are chaste and pious, for that reason these songs that appear here have been written. And these should be used modestly, and take care that no one who keeps watch in prayer and contemplation is disturbed."

The collection includes real firm favourites in the medieval repertoire, such as Stella Splendens (shown here), Polorum Regina, Cuncti Simus Concanentes, and Ad Mortem Festinamus. The notation is clear and accessible; it's well worth consulting the originals and you can find them here, in the Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes of the University of Alicante.


Anyway, that's all for now good people! I hope that I might see some of you online very soon. Until the next time! Gill

Gill Page

Director Medieval Music in the Dales

192 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All