Le Lay de Plour

(Guillaume Machaut)

Year: 2018

Instrumentation: contralto, flute, violin, cello, piano

Duration: 40 minutes

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Program Notes

Le Lay de Plour sets the poems by that name by Guillaume Machaut. The 12 poems in the set are typical medieval romance poetry – the first 6 poems speak of a woman’s love for her knight and the final 6 of her despair at his death in battle.

The music was written for Laure Slabiak, after, by chance, hearing her singing on YouTube. After an exchange of ideas, the music was composed for a group consisting of contralto, flute, violin, cello and piano, but with those instruments only playing all together in the first, seventh and twelfth poems.

The melodies bear no reference to those composed by Machaut for these poems. When planning the music, I decided the better course was to compose new music, treating the words as just words for my own music.

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