F.A.U.V.E.L: Flattery, Avarice, Vileness, Varieté (fickleness), Envy, Lascheté (cowardice). These are the character traits of Fauvel, a Medieval hybrid creature, part human, part equine. He is the incongruous “hero” of an epic French satire, Le Roman de Fauvel. Fauvel, despite his utter incompetence, rises to the heights of political influence with the aid of Lady Fortune and her vacuous daughter, Vainglory. Toadies rush to his side to “curry fauvel,” the original form of the term “curry favor” still in use today. This early critique of the abuse of power is razor sharp, appalling, and very funny. The fabulous early Fourteenth Century manuscript which preserves Fauvel includes thousands of lines of poetry, brilliant illustrations, and every kind of music, from drunken song-refrains to cutting-edge motets by Philippe de Vitry. Our concert-length performance is illuminated by images from and translations of the manuscript. Performing are Drew Minter, voice and harp; Shira Kammen, Medieval fiddle; Mark Rimple, cittole and gittern; Mary Springfels, citole and vielle; Tracy Cowart, harp and voice; Spiff Wiegand, hurdy-gurdy and percussion.
This performance was recorded live at our 2018-19 season finale, and has been reedited with enhanced images from the manuscript. Also, Director Mary Springfels gives an introductory lecture on the provenance of the manuscript and the Medieval French courts. Watch it on our new streaming service, A440.live, recently developed by a friend in Houston especially for Classical music performances. Also see the original program, Mary’s original program notes, and the full-color 11×17 poster (suitable for framing).