The Roman de Fauvel: Love and Counterpoint in Medieval France (2022)

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Folger Consort performed "The Roman de Fauvel: Politics and Counterpoint in Medieval France" from April 22 – 24, 2022 at St. Marks on Capitol Hill.


In 14th-century Paris, Fauvel is a mythical horse embodying all of man’s vices. In a world turned upside-down, Fauvel the horse experiences a meteoric rise to political power in the French royal court where he is visited far and wide by clergy and noblemen who debase themselves to clean and brush him – or “curry favor,” a phrase originating from this manuscript.  Fauvel's story sees him followed by his courtiers (the Vices), a journey to the land of Macrocosmos to woo the female ruler of the universe, and a raucuous wedding celebration with his eventual bride, Vainglory.

Woven into Fauvel’s tale are 169 richly imaginative musical works whose astounding variety ranges from monophonic chants to contrapuntally complex motets with multiple – occasionally profane – texts sung simultaneously. In these performances, Fauvel's narrative and the eccentric Medieval music of the Roman de Fauvel are supplemented with the world premiere of new settings by composer Juri Seo. Highlighting the dangerous political tendencies of mankind, the Roman de Fauvel is part of the long tradition of animal allegories that includes Reynard the Fox and Animal Farm. With a medieval instrumental ensemble, vocalists, and a narrator, Folger Consort shares the satire, delirium, and allegory contained in the Roman de Fauvel.


Peter Becker: Voice

Robert Eisenstein: Vielle, Artistic Director

Shira Kammen: Vielle

Brian Kay: Tenor

Christopher Kendall: Lute, Artistic Director

Dan Meyers: Winds, Percussion

Mark Rimple: Winds, Voice

Juri Seo: Composer