In Search Of The Lost Song


In Search Of The Lost Song
In Search Of The Lost Song...
Bringing Medieval Chansons To Life
Presenter Information Kit
Artist Bios
In October 2004, Asteria burst onto the national Early Music scene, winning Early Music America’s first Unicorn Prize for Medieval and
Renaissance Music with a performance heralded by the New York Times as “intimate and deeply communicative…meltingly beautiful.” This
engaging duo brings out the passion and emotional impact of late medieval vocal and instrumental music with timeless love songs of wide
appeal, transporting their listeners back to the age of chivalry.
Eric’s skill on the lute and sweet tenor voice are complemented by his expertise in early music, earned through study at the Schola
Cantorum Basiliensis and extensive archival research into original sources. Following graduation from Middlebury College, Eric spent several
years immersing himself in the European musical archives of the Hague, Basel and Marburg. During this time he also did post-graduate
studies in composition and musicology at the Frankfurt Conservatory of Music, worked in the studio of New York based avant-
garde composer Philip Glass and studied medieval lute with Crawford Young and voice with Richard Levitt at the Schola. He now makes his
home in New York, where he has studied with Drew Minter and Gary Ramsey.
Sylvia brings to the partnership not only her quicksilver soprano but also a strong dramatic connection with the audience, gained from a
professional career in musical theater. She has starred internationally as Christine in “The Phantom of the Opera,” and on Broadway as
Joanna in “Sweeney Todd” under the direction of Harold Prince, Susan Schulman and Stephen Sondheim.
Raised in London and the Pacific Northwest, Sylvia grew up surrounded by classical music, opera and
dance. She pursued a passion for early music at Carleton College, guided by Stephen Kelly, taking leading
roles in early operas and operettas on her way to a degree in music. She studied also with Wesley Balk at
St. Olaf College and recorded with Dennis Russell Davies and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Arriving
in New York, Sylvia was invited to sing with the New York City Opera and began ongoing coaching with
Marcy Lindheimer.
Upon meeting, Eric and Sylvia immediately discovered their mutual interest in earlier repertoire and began
to rendezvous regularly in New York's Central Park to work on late Medieval and Renaissance pieces,
gradually developing their passionate approach to the music. Asteria's performances convey the anguish
and ecstasy of the poetry and the rapturous beauty of the interweaving vocal and instrumental lines.
Their unique style is showcased on three CDs: Le Souvenir de Vous Me Tue, Soyes Loyal and, recorded in
the authentic halls of France, the lovely Un Très Doulx Regard. All three CDs, along with more information
about their work and upcoming concerts are available on their website: .
About the Presentation
In the courts of Europe at the end of the Middle Ages, musical performance not only sounded, but also looked very different
than it does today. Large orchestras did not exist. Aside from fanfares and other public celebrations, courtly music was largely
a more personal, intimate affair, with individual songs composed and performed by a handful of musicians and singers for
private audiences or as an eagerly awaited treat at banquets and other social settings at court. Quieter instruments such as
lutes, harps and vielles (a predecessor of the violin) were often favored to accompany singers to create the beautiful, multitextured sound that is so characteristic of the period.
The topic of the poetry is invariably that of courtly love, that mysterious and uniquely medieval literary and cultural tradition
that places the lady on the highest possible pedestal and defines the social roles for noblemen and noblewomen at court.
But, like the experience of love in any age, there are countless variations and some unique medieval twists on this timeless
subject. A knight is expected to woo his lady, but the pain of her initial refusal is bittersweet. The more inaccessible the object of his
affections, the higher the drama and the glory of the pursuit. The troubadours, the celebrated singer/poets of the 12th and
13th centuries, preached the gospel of courtly love as the ultimate in human experience. But what did it all mean, and why
was this hopelessly romantic form of human expression so revered at that time when today chivalry appears all but dead (or is
Using images from manuscripts, paintings and photographs, the members of Asteria demonstrate how they sift through
cultural traces to find clues for understanding ancient music in a way that makes this mysterious period accessible. Our hope
is that in the end, you’ll agree that things have perhaps not changed so very much in the many centuries that separate us
from those ancient bards; songs about love still predominate, and our hearts (and lives) are still capable of being turned
upside-down in the merest instant by a sweet glance. ASTERIA • 2596 TATER LANE • GUILFORD, VT 05301!
Selected Texts and Translations
Quant la doulce jouvencelle
Anon from Oxford Can. Misc. 213 (~1420) Quant la doulce jouvencelle
La tres gracieuse et belle
Celle don’t suy amoureux
Veult que me tiengne joyeux
Ne doy je obeir a elle?
Certes ouy, car c’est celle
Qui son doulx amy m’apelle
Estre ne puis plus joyeux
Quant la doulce jouvencelle...
Plaisir en moy renouvelle
N’autre amer je ne quier qu’elle
Servir la vueil en tous lieux
A mon pouvoir de bien en mieulx
Ma volonte si est telle
Quant la doulce jouvencelle...
If the gentle maiden,
The most gracious and beautiful,
She, with whom I am in love,
Desires only to make me happy,
Should I not grant her wish?
Certainly yes – for she is the one
Who calls me her sweet love –
I could not be happier!
If the gentle maiden...
Pleasure renews itself in me.
I desire no other lover but her.
To serve her everywhere
Within my power
For good or better,
That is my wish.
If the gentle maiden...
Va tent souspir
Estienne Grossin (~1420)
Va tent souspir je ten supplie
Vers ma dame hastivement
Et de par moy tres doulchement
Fay li savoir ma maladie
Di lui que je nay nulle envie
Daultre choisir certainement:
Va tent souspir je ten supplie…
Je me souhaide une nutie
Avec elle tan seulement
Sy me donroit aligement
De tous me maulx e le taffye
Va tent souspir je ten supplie…
Go, Sigh, I beg you, Quickly to my Lady;
And tell her sweetly Of my malady.
Tell her that I certainly have no desire To choose another.
Go, sigh, I beg you…
I, myself, wish for a night With her, totally alone.
It would cure me,
Of all my troubles, I assure you.
Go, sigh, I beg you…
Le souvenir de vous me tue Robert Morton (~1430-1476)
Le souvenir de vous me tue
Mon seul bien quant je ne vous voy
Car ie vous jure sur ma foy
Sans vous ma liesse est perdue
Quant vous estes hors de ma veue
Je me plains et diz a par moy
Le souvenir de vous me tue...
Seulle demeure despourveue
D’ame nul confort ne recay
Et si suffre sans faire effray
Jusques a vostre revenue
Le souvenir de vous me tue…
The memory of you kills me,
My one treasure, when I cannot see you.
Because I swear to you upon my honor, Without you my joy is lost.
When you are out of my sight,
I lament and cry out to myself:
The memory of you kills me…
Alone I remain, bereft of soul,
Receiving no comfort
And so I shall suffer in silence
Until your return.
The memory of you kills me…
Pour mesdisans
Anonymous, Oxford Can. Misc. 213
Pour mesdisans ne pour leur faulx parler
Je ne layray que ne soye joyeuse
J’ai bon espoir et seray songneuse
De ben faire, se les feray crever
Ases puellent et mentir et gengler
Il ne me chaut, ja ne seray yreuse
Pour mesdisans ne pour leur faulx parler…
[He, dieu d’amours en vo grand volonter
Aidiez a moi qui tant suys amoureuse
Or c’est leur mort dont tant suy desireuse
Aultrement j’ai mieux cause de lamenter]
Pour mesdisans ne pour leur faulx parler…
Neither for gossips nor for their slander,
I shall not accept that I shall not be joyful.
I have good hope and shall be desiring
Of having done well, thus to quell them.
So easily they are able to lie and gossip,
It matters not, I shall never be happy
Neither for gossips nor for their slander…
[O, God of Love, in your great compassion,
Aid me who loves so much.
Now it is their death which I desire so,
Otherwise I have better reason to lament.]
Neither for gossips nor for their slander...
Other Materials
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Documents pareils York Times as "intimate and deeply communicative...meltingly beautiful." This engaging duo brings out the passion and emotional impact of late medieval vocal and instrumental music with timeless lo...

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