The Early Music Podcast : Guillaume de Machaut

The Early Music Podcast : Guillaume de Machaut
How are you an artist when you are just following a tradition and reading a score?

If you have listened to the first episodes of this series, now you probably see Early Music as any music from the past that was lost at some point in time, and that requires some work and research before it is brought back to life by XXI century performers. But today’s episode focuses on a theory: there are many music traditions in Europe that were transmitted orally through time through uninterrupted practice, and now represent a regional trait: what if these traditions were a true expression of a very ancient art form?

For our guest, Bjorn Schmelzer today, this theory turns out to be mere fantasy, but it opens the door to some important questioning of the role of artists in Early music: should they try to recreate what is lost, or simply let go of the past? Bjorn Schmelzer is a researcher and the founder of Graindelavoix, a vocal music collective that focuses on vocal music from the Middle-Ages. Throughout their performances and recordings, they have come across some interesting musical practices, and our guest took the example of polyphony as it is performed in the village of Castel Sardo, in the north of Sardinia. How does it sound when it is put in perspective with Graindelavoix’s recording of the Messe de Nostre Dame, written by Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377)? 


guest Björn Schmelzer, founder and artistic director of Graindelavoix

interview & editing Andrew Burn
production REMA
credits music 
Platée, Act 1, Orage - Jean-Philippe Rameau
performed by Les Talens Lyriques, dir. Christophe Rousset
Camera Lucida 2014
All rights reserved - Courtesy of Les Talens Lyriques
design Doretta Rinaldi
original drawings Vincent Flückiger

cover score Folio, Lais, motets, ballades, rondeaux et virelais, ca. 1350-1355 (Bibliothèque nationale de France, Français 1584) 

Salve sancta parens [Introitus], Agnus Dei & Ite missa est - Guillaume de Machaut
performed by Björn Schmelzer, Graindelavoix
Messe de Nostre Dame, Glossa 2016

Miserere - Coro della Confraternita di Santa Croce 
Live recording, 2014

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