Lecture and Concert by Asteria
94121 San Francisco
Inspired by the special exhibition The Mourners, Asteria presents a lecture and concert of medieval music. Take home their music after the event: the Museum Store will be selling Le Souvenir de Vous me Tue, Soyes Loyal, and Un tres doulx regard. Enjoy a sample now.
Lecture: "In Search of the Lost Song: Bringing Medieval Chansons to Life"
Florence Gould Theater
How do you bring alive today music that was written half a millennium ago?
Concert: "Music for a Rash Prince: Medieval Love Songs from the Court of Charles of Burgundy"
Florence Gould Theater
The artistic legacy of the court of Burgundy remained legendary well after the demise of chivalry at the end of the Middle Ages. Nowhere was this more evident than in the superb love songs written during the reign of Charles the Bold at the end of the 15th century. Charles, a prince of the French royal family, was brought up in a household that bathed in extravagance, with elaborate feasts and tournaments a regular part of daily life. He was educated, as most children of noble birth at this time, by personal tutors in history, philosophy, and of course music. His father, Philip the Good, also had a keen appreciation for music and went so far as to personally supervise the selection of singers for his chapel. Charles, who both sang and played the harp, continued his father’s legacy and ultimately presided over a musical establishment that was the envy of Europe.
Though the quality of his chapel choir was widely praised, it was in the domain of secular music that the musicians and composers of Burgundy particularly excelled. The courtly love songs that delighted Charles (by one account Charles insisted on having a new song sung to him each and every evening) are like tiny vignettes of life at court, with knights, ladies, and gossip taking center stage. Today’s program presents songs by three of his most famous court composers: Antoine Busnoys, Robert Morton, and Hayne van Ghizeghem, composed roughly during the period of the Mourners sculptures currently on display at the Legion of Honor. The presence of any one of these men, who enjoyed international reputations, would have raised the artistic quality of the court to a remarkable level; all three together in one place quite literally made history.
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