These four programmes are ideally suited for concert presentation as part of an early music festival, medieval event or a general music series. The programmes can also be easily adapted to work well as presentations in heritage sites and in schools.
Reynard the Fox
Imagine the scene... You are in a grand castle of the high middle ages. The Great Hall is packed with splendidly attired lords, ladies and their followers enjoying a night of feasting and entertainment. The lord of the castle has secured the services of a troupe of traveling jongleurs and, as the company takes its ease, the players enter the hall. From the masks they are wearing it is clear that they intend to present stories of Reynard, and everyone sits up, eager to enjoy another retelling of these classic - and hilarious - tales. Gaily painted backdrops are revealed of the forest kingdom of King Noble the Lion, lord of all the animals, and of a farmyard and of a church - the typical haunts of the wily Reynard. With a flourish the jongleurs announce that they will be presenting the trial of Reynard before the king... and the action begins!
Trouvère mix medieval music and drama in a vivid and lively retelling of the tales of Reynard the Fox. Taking on the roles of jongleurs - the multi-skilled entertainers of the middle ages - we transport the audience back 800 years. Using the 13th century Romance of Reynard as our source, we present the well-known story of The Fox and the Wolf in the Well , the less familiar but deeply comical tale of Primaut the Priest, and the story of the cockerel Chanticleer. Masks, slapstick and interaction, together with the authentic music of the period played on gittern, flutes, harp and English bagpipes, bring the stories and characters alive for a modern audience while remaining true to the medieval source.
As well as being enormous fun, these stories were used and interpreted in the middle ages as comment on their times. Nobles, clergy and peasants are all targeted, and the setting is realistic - if you ignore the talking animals! Twelfth and thirteenth century audiences would have recognised characters and situations and understood specific details and references. In our presentation we stay true to this element of the stories with our own touches of the contemporary.
Reynard the Fox is a great choice for
- Concerts - featuring music from 13th century France, Reynard is ideal for early music events
- Festivals and heritage days - Reynard the Fox can be presented as an interlinked set of three shows over the course of a day. Our period tent and colourful set make a great backdrop!
- Schools - a programme of workshops to accompany the show is also available.
Concerts, festivals and schools from £550 (not including expenses)
epic comedy from the middle ages * hilarious... beyond our expectations * uniquely told
Music for a Medieval Feast
Mery it is in halle to here the harpe, the mynstrales synge, the jogelours carpe
Feasting was an important part of medieval life - and an occasion when all kinds of entertainment could be enjoyed. In the 12th century, Chretien de Troyes described a wedding feast as having plenty of merrymaking in the hall... one minstrel jumps, another tumbles, another does magic; there is story-telling, singing, whistling... they play on the harp, the rote, the fiddle.
We cant promise you all of that, but Music for a Medieval Feast offers a great variety of music from the 12th through to the 16th centuries, performed on an impressive range of authentic medieval instruments. Theres also story-telling from Chaucer, and the music is interspersed with light-hearted accounts of medieval life and the dos and donts of feasting etiquette.
Music for a Medieval Feast is ideal if you are interested in a general introduction to medieval music. It incorporates a wide variety of instrumental music, some singing, comic tales and banter - and theres even the option of some medieval dancing!
Concerts from £650.
A Medieval Christmas
Our seasonal show A Medieval Christmas presents a unique mix of music and entertainment from the middle ages. If features some familiar and not so familiar tunes and is also a chance to explore the traditions of a long-gone world. Christmas in medieval times was quite different from today with a host of weird and wonderful customs and the show is packed with anecdotes and tales of medieval Christmas merriment along with - of course - a wonderfully varied selection of period music played on authentic instruments.
A Medieval Christmas is perfect for an evening event in the run up to Christmas. It is a light and lively presentation with an informal touch, which works really well in intimate period settings, but can be adapted for any space. Museums and historic sites might want to combine an evening performance with a daytime presentation.
Concerts from £300.
Music for a Medieval Prince
The high middle ages was the time of crusading, of chivalry and of courtly love. To celebrate the deeds done by great men, their exploits in love both requited and unrequited, and the virtues of their fair ladies was the task of the troubadours and trouvères.
The troubadours were the poet-minstrels of parts of southern France whose songs were composed in the local dialect of Occitan. Their northern counterparts, who wrote in medieval French, were the trouvères. This was an aristocratic tradition of poetic and musical composition, and in their complicated times these men and women immortalised a view of medieval life - lords and ladies, knights and shepherdesses, unrequited courtly love - which remains influential to this day.
Not all troubadours and trouvères were in fact of noble birth. Bernart de Ventadorn was reputedly raised from the servant class because of the beauty of his voice, and ended up an associate of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Colin Muset was a professional musician who bemoaned in his songs the hardships of the life of a jobbing minstrel. At the other end of the scale were the lordly trouvères such as Conon de Bethune and Richard Coeur de Lion.
Music for a Medieval Prince presents the music of the troubadours and trouvères,selected solely from the Chansonnier du Roi, one of the most significant musical collections of the 13th century. The music is performed on authentic instruments and covers a variety of genres and styles including the dance tunes that appear uniquely in this manuscript.
Music for a Medieval Prince is ideal for concert series, providing a more in-depth examination of a particular artistic movement. Trouvère specialise in the music of the high middle ages, making this their music of choice!
Concerts from £350.