Many works by the famed medieval poet-composer Guillaume de Machaut are formes fixes: complex musico-poetic structures requiring skill and finesse to create. This is an example of one such form, a rondeau. In order for a rondeau to work, the first phrase has to hinge musically, prosodically, and semantically both to the second phrase and to itself, creating a fascinating challenge for the composer/writer. Because Doulz Viaire Gracieus is quite a short rondeau, it’s easy to hear its form–and to appreciate the exquisite polyphony and fantastically outlandish harmonies within.
Guillaume de Machaut: Doulz Viaire Gracieus
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Kate Soper is a composer, performer, and writer whose work explores the integration of drama and rhetoric into musical structure, the slippery continuums of expressivity, intelligibility and sense, and the wonderfully treacherous landscape of the human voice. She has been hailed by the Boston Globe as “a composer of trenchant, sometimes discomfiting, power” and praised by the New Yorker for her “limpid, exacting vocalism, impetuous theatricality, and mastery of modernist style.” Her large-scale works include the song cycle/monodrama Voices from the Killing Jar, the opera with original libretto Here Be Sirens, and the chamber music theatre piece IPSA DIXIT, which was a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize. Upcoming projects include Missing Scenes for soprano and chamber orchestra and a new opera with original libretto, The Romance of the Rose. Since 2006, Kate has been a co-director and vocalist for Wet Ink, a New York-based new music ensemble.
Hear Kate perform excerpts from The Romance of the Rose in NYFOS Next: Kate Soper & Friends on March 28 at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music.