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Cantorelli is very excited to be hosting a concert byTrio Mediaeval and John Potter 

on September 12, 2019 at 7.00pm

in Heptonstall Parish Church.


MACHAUT AND THE KINGS OF CYPRUS


Trio Mediæval is a vocal trio established in Oslo in 1997, recording albums for the ECM label, and touring frequently in Europe and the United States. For this concert they are joined by the tenor John Potter. He records for ECM, and his current projects include Alternative History and collaborations with his former Hilliard Ensemble colleagues. He is Reader Emeritus in Music at the University of York UK.


The programme celebrates the extraordinary connection between Reims and Nicosia at the end of the 14th century and beginning of the 15th. The manuscript known to musicologists as Torini J.II.9 is an extraordinary collection of ars subtilior polyphony and chant by a single unknown author who clearly knew the music of Guillaume de Machaut. The programme brings together the two strands in performances of the Machaut mass and a Cypriot mass of a generation or two later.

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The manuscript known as Torino J.ll.9 is one of the most famous and least understood sources of late 14th/early 15th century polyphony and chant. We know it was compiled for the court of King Janus (1398-1432) at Nicosia, but who wrote it, and how such perfectly-formed French music came to be in Cyprus is one of music history's great mysteries. One of the many curious things about the collection is that some of the pieces seem to show the influence of Guillaume de Machaut, who died in 1377 and as far as we know never went to Cyprus.


The story begins in 1360, when Janus’ great uncle Pierre de Lusignan was crowned King of Cyprus in Famagusta Cathedral, becoming at the same time the titular King of Jerusalem. Two years later the warrior king embarked on a tour of European kingdoms to raise money for a crusade to re-take the Holy City from the Moors; in 1364 he attended the coronation of Charles V in Reims, where he would have encountered the music and poetry of Guillaume de Machaut. It is no longer thought likely that Machaut composed his Mass for the ceremony, but as a cathedral canon and the most famous composer in France he almost certainly contributed music for the festivities. Some ten years later Machaut wrote the last of his great poems, La Prise d’Alixandre, which told the story of Pierre’s crusade and the European tour that preceded it. Such is the level of detail in this 9,000 word rhymed chronical that it is possible that Machaut, an experienced traveller after decades in the

service of King John of Bohemia, accompanied the Cypriot king on the Eastern leg of his extended European adventure. Machaut had hugely admired the military exploits of John of Bohemia whose death at the battle of Crecy was the stuff of legend, the blind king insisting on being led into battle only to be cut to pieces by the English, and he may have seen something of the perfect chivalric knight in Pierre, the most celebrated jouster in all Europe.


Pierre was assassinated in 1369, and Machaut died in 1377, probably not long after completing La Prise. A continuing history of violence and upheaval did not stop the court at Nicosia from enjoying the complex music of the post-Machaut generation known as the ars subtilior, and during the reign of Janus de Lusignan a unique collection of some 200 pieces was assembled, giving a vivid picture of a sophisticated musical culture. None of the pieces is known anywhere else, and all of them are anonymous. Several of the secular works contain musical traces of Machaut, a legacy that originated in the previous century when the composer met King Pierre, years before Janus himself was born. In this programme of sacred music we re-unite the composers of this extraordinary Cypriot-French repertoire with the composer who may have been its inspiration.

 
 
 

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Trio Mediæval
Anna Maria Friman
Linn Andrea Fuglseth
Jorunn Lovise Husan
with John Potter (below)

Cantorelli is a group of eight singers from West Yorkshire.The group has an extensive repertoire of mainly European sacred and secular choral music from the medieval to the present day and performs regularly in the area.


Cantorelli was originally formed by a group of friends in Hebden Bridge nearly 30 years ago and although some members have moved away and new members have joined, the group has always remained a small a capella chamber choir of eight singers who determine the programme and control the direction of the music within the group. The group has also taken part in workshops with professional musicians and choral directors.