Nicolette et Aucassin

2008

A Dramatic work for 2 Sopranos, Narrator and Piano
Duration: 27′
Commissioned by Margo Garrett

Premiere: Lincoln Center, NY January 2008
Elizabeth Futral, Lucy Shelton, Sopranos
Margo Garrett, Piano
Paul Michael Valley, Narrator

Nicolette et Aucassin is a 13th century sung-fable (Chantefable) of unknown authorship. In keeping with the original set-up, the text made up of alternating recited prose narrations, and subtly rhyming poetic verses which are sung. The story is much like a Romeo and Juliet with the difference that it ends optimistically.
Nicolette and Aucassin is a unique document in the French literature of the Middle Ages because of this unusual alternation of spoken and sung word. Also, rare is that a gorgeous manuscript from the period survives at the French Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. The manuscript possesses beautiful illuminations and more amazingly, actual musical melodies, penned in the period neumatic style, for the opening first 2 lines and last line of each of its 20 sung verses.
This music with its deliciously ambiguous modal qualities, forms the core of Lasser’s own compositional materials for the piece where the exact melodies, integrated into the musical fabric, exist at the beginning and end of each of the 6 sung verses.

Score is available for purchase. (www.rasseleditions.com)

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