Un Tres Doulx Regard
The Blossoming of the Burgundian Spirit in Song, 1390-1440
Just like the shy lover who is knocked off their feet by a merest glance from the object of their affections, the music of the first generation of Burgundian composers at the end of the ars nova is infused with the sweetness and explosive passion of new love. Asteria's latest program, "un tres doulx regard," is the result of extensive archival research during their sabatical year in France in 2006/2007. Largely drawn from anonymous or unattributed compositions from the last decade of the 14th century and very beginning of the 15th, this body of work constitutes the generation of "Dufay's teachers", and contains many of the elements that will later be the hallmarks of the mature Burgundian style that swept Europe during of the middle of the 15th century.
Flower of Passion - Thorn of Despair
Chivalry and Courtly Love in Medieval Burgundy
Flower of passion - thorn of despair brings together a sumptuous collection of courtly songs that would have likely been performed in the courts of the Dukes of Burgundy at the height of their cultural influence during the mid to late 15th century. The composers and musicians who prospered under the reign of Philip II, duke of Burgundy, were the envy of Europe, and his court chapel was compared favorably to that of pope himself. Philip's generosity and appreciation of music contributed to a legacy of poetry and song that would be continue to be performed and imitated long after the end of Burgundian influence. The title of the program is drawn from the 13th century work The Romance of the Rose, an epic poem of love that chronicles the quest of a stricken lover to retrieve his "rose" from an impregnable fortress.
A Rose of Such Virtue
Sacred and Secular Love in the Waning Middle Ages
Much of the courtly poetry from the 12th to the 15th centuries can be summed up, as Robert Morton does in his exquisite chanson from the latter 15th century, with one phrase: “Vive Ma Dame!” The Lady, the absolute, flawless, most worthy object of chivalric desire, is surely one of the most mysterious and intriguing elements of medieval art. Her frequent portrayal as a flower, particularly a thorny rose, only emphasizes the cost of granting her one's devotion. But the symbols of the lady and the rose are simultaneously also images for the virgin mother. Asteria explores the dual nature of these themes with beautiful English and French music from the early 15th century.