Forum Musicum
Roman de Fauvel – a Story of a Donkey in Two Parts
8:00 PM
Wrocław, Town Hall, Principal Room

Roman de Fauvel – a Story of a Donkey in Two Parts (France, 1310)   

Part One
Favellandi vicium – motet 
Mundus a mundicia – motet 
Quare fremuerunt – motet 
Presidentes in thronis / Super cathedram / Ruina – motets
In mari miserie / Manere – motet 
Virtus moritur – conductus 
Floret fex favellea – conductus  
Philippe le Chancelier Clavus pungens – conductus 
Presum, prees: verbum dignum – conductus 
Porchier miex estre ameroie – rondo 
Fauvel nous a fait present / Ja voi douleur avenir / Fauvel: autant m'est si poise – motets

Part Two
Philippe le Chancelier O labilis sortis humane status – conductus 
Carnalitas, luxuria – conductus 
Veritas arpie / Johanne – motets 
Douce dame debonaire – ballad
A touz jours sanz remanoir – rondo 
Je, qui poair seule ai – lai 
Ay, amours, tant me dure – ballad 
Fauvel est mal assegné – rondo 
Philippe de Vitry? Heu, Fortuna subdula / Aman novi probatur exitu / Heu me, tristis est anima mea – motets 
Gaudet Falvellus nimium – conductus 
In hac valle miserie – prose
Virgines egregie – sequence 
En non Dieu, agace, agace – fatras and sottes chansons 
Philippe de Vitry? Quoniam secta latronum / Tribum, que non abhorruit / Merito hec partimur – motets 
Maria, virgo virginum / Celi domina / Porchier mieuz estre ameroie – motets 
Bon vin doit / Quant ie le voi / Cis chans veult boire – motets 


Ars Cantus
Aleksandra Hanus – voice
Monika Wieczorkowska – voice
Radosław Pachołek – voice
Maciej Gocman – voice
Piotr Karpeta – voice 
Agnieszka Obst-Chwała – fiddle, rebec
Tomasz Dobrzański – recorder, douçaine, shawm, citole, artistic direction of Ars Cantus 
Fryderyk Mizerski – slide trumpet 
Ewa Prawucka – chest organ

Robert Gonera – narrator 

Wrocław, Town Hall, Principal Room
Rynek 1, 50-996 Wrocław
from 10 to 50 zł
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Non-refundable tickets

In medieval France, it was extremely difficult to criticise royal authority. The author of the 14th-century poem Roman de Fauvel – probably Gervais du Bus – presents a donkey (or horse) that leaves the stable and advances in the hierarchy of the monarch’s court, reaching the highest positions until finally he is courted by bishops, the pope, and even the ruler himself. It is therefore not surprising that the content of the work does not clearly indicate which king’s entourage the furred courtier joined, and historians point to as many as three of the Capetians who ruled on the Loire: Philip IV, Louis X and Philip V. Alongside the text (and illustrations), one of the satirical manuscripts also contains musical pieces related to its content; this means it can also be presented using the art of sounds. This task will be undertaken by Ars Cantus under the direction of Tomasz Dobrzański during the Forum Musicum.

The manuscript in question – kept in the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris under the reference number fr.146, created between 1317 and 1322 – is the most valuable collection of polyphonic works from this period. It is a unique testimony to the birth in France of the musical art known as ars nova, as opposed to the previously dominant ars antiqua. It is characterised by a freer rhythm (written in a new way), as well as the flourishing of secular genres, such as rondeau, virelai and ballad, among others. One of its most outstanding representatives was Philippe de Vitry. It is from the title of the theoretical treatise he wrote that the name of the new method of composing comes. Over time it began to be used to designate an entire era in the history of music. As many as nine works attributed to him have been preserved in Roman de Fauvel, written during the period of his creative activity.

The priceless manuscript does not contain only music (although it even contains pieces composed especially with the above-mentioned story of the cloven-hoofed pack animal climbing the rungs of the feudal ladder in mind). It is an extremely diverse and extensive compilation, and among the 169 musical interpolations of Roman de Fauvel’s text, we can also find motets, conducti, fragments of Gregorian chant, and quasi-chorale arrangements. The oldest compositions preserved in the source were created at the end of the 12th century. Among these works are those attributed to Philippe le Chancelier, who owes his nickname to the title of chancellor of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, which was given to him in 1218. Along with anonymous works and de Vitry’s compositions, they will also be performed by Ars Cantus artists.

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