Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Alte Musik

When I'm feeling really sentimental (as now, because it's Christmas) I reach for the "Early Music".

Alte Musik (it sounds better in German)- troubadour songs, crusader songs, Carmina Burana- but in the original settings, not Carl Orff's (though I like those too.)

Currently top of my medieval hit parade are.

1. Palastinalied- an ineffably sad song about crusading by Walther von der Vogelweide (d. 1230)

2. Quan Vei La Lauzeta Mover- Benart de Ventadorn's 12th century ballad of lost love.

3. The Wedding of Robin Hood- an English ballad which may or may not have inspired As You Like It. It has such a pretty tune.

4. Ja Nuls Homs Pris- the song Richard Coeur de Lion wrote while banged up in an Austrian prison.

Coeur de Lion was a murderous psychopath and arguably England's worst king ever (all he did was tax us and ignore us) but he can be forgiven much for this lovely little song. I wrote a poem about it a few years back and here it is...


Richard the Lionheart sings in his prison
And serve him right.

But the song is lovely.
It potters along the roads of Europe,
Under the poplars, under a sky
Of whisk-tailed cirrus. The killer, the rapist,
The butcher of Acre is feeling so sorry.
It stirs the oak and the beech where peasants
Are herding swine. They suppose that the lack
In their lives is a king who is being kept from them.

I love the middle ages. Maybe I was a crusader in a previous life. Maybe I was an outlaw. Maybe I was a monk.

Maybe I was a lady in a turret room in the Auvergne, waiting for some poet, some singer, to drop by and amuse her.
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