Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Machaut in the Machine Age: Liement me deport

This is a beautiful, haunting piece which Eve based on the words and music of 14th century trouvere, Guillaume de Machaut. Eve's idea was to give this work a contemporary "techno" feel, bringing the 14th century to the 21st.

Eve is such a groundbreaking, cutting edge composer, so very downtown NYC and so hip. What's interesting is that Machaut himself was the cutting edge composer of his time, forerunner of Ars Nova, and turning the current music of his time on its head and introducing what would be known as isorhythm, introducing more complex rhythms and structures, often repeating patterns and manipulating them. Sounds familiar, no? Today it would be sort of like sampling.

In the same vein, Eve takes this music and does a Machaut. She takes one line from Machaut and spreads it out in four layers. She's now explaining the song to the children, about wanting what you don't have. The best way to get what you don't have, she says, is to be clear about wanting it.

Actually, for anyone who's ever had his or her heart broken (and who hasn't?), Machaut is the man. Unrequited love was his forte, and his ideas of lamentation for the beloved sounds contemporary even today. Even Dante was profoundly influenced by this guy -- check out Dante's La Vita Nuova.

Eve is explaining what we've done earlier -- we've recorded two versions, and now we're recording the song live.

Here it is: Liement me deport. Eve's translation: Smile when your heart is breaking.

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