Notes and Editorial Reviews
ADAM DE LA HALLE
Le jeu de Robin et Marion
Antony Pitts, dir; Tonus Peregrinus
NAXOS 8.557337 (74:26
Another ?Robin and Marion? coming so soon after Ensemble Micrologus (28:6) is remarkable, for we now have four attempts to fill up a CD with the dramatic pastourelle that had first appeared on records three times in a bare-bones 11 to 13 minutes. On those three, Safford Cape and Joel Cohen included only the 16 songs, while Thomas Binkley
supplied a thread of dialogue while omitting a few minor songs at the end. Since the original play is mostly spoken, the story line was largely lost. Guy Robert on Arion was the first to add more dialogue, three motets, and three songs. Binkley?s second version on Focus was even longer by dint of a musical prelude but slightly less dialogue. Micrologus used no dialogue but prolonged the music with a lot of instrumental extensions and added six motets, five songs, and three
. Now we have the longest traversal of all, with the complete dialogue (it seems), three motets, and three songs. Like Binkley I, Robert, and Micrologus, this includes the motet on ?Robin m?aime? from the Montpellier Codex, performed here three times. All these discs, of course, include the basic 16 songs.
The most notable difference on this presentation is the dialogue spoken almost simultaneously, a narrator reciting the original dialect of French in the left speaker, the actors speaking colloquial English in the right speaker, with the songs spread across the center. Consequently, only the songs are printed in both languages in the booklet. (Focus printed songs and dialogue in both languages, Arion only in the original.) Clearly, these four CDs are not much alike, and the inveterate collector will learn a lot by hearing all four. This version has a hectic busyness in the way the narrator tries to squeeze his lines into the fast-paced play, but the added sound effects enhance the sense of a staged play. I must add that Robert?s baritone knight fits the character better than his rivals, but Pitts?s knight has the best sound effects. All four CDs are currently available, but this one has a real price advantage.
FANFARE: J. F. Weber
Works on This Recording
Le jeu de Robin et de Marion by Adam de la Halle
Mary Remnant (Fiddle),
Kathryn Oswald (Spoken Vocals),
Francis Brett (Spoken Vocals),
Francis Brett (Bass),
Alexander L'Estrange (Spoken Vocals),
Mary Remnant (Shawm),
Rebecca Hickey (Soprano),
Alexander L'Estrange (Tambourine),
Antony Pitts (Tambourine),
Joanna Forbes (Soprano),
Mary Remnant (Symphony),
Joanna Forbes (Spoken Vocals),
Alexander L'Estrange (Countertenor),
Mary Remnant (Percussion),
Mary Remnant (Gittern),
Mary Remnant (Rebec),
Antony Pitts (Cow Horn),
Antony Pitts (Trumpet),
Antony Pitts (Bagpipe),
Antony Pitts (Spoken Vocals),
Rebecca Hickey (Spoken Vocals),
Kathryn Oswald (Alto),
Antony Pitts (Portative organ),
Mary Remnant (Pipe & Tabor),
Mary Remnant (Harp),
Richard Eteson (Tenor),
Richard Eteson (Spoken Vocals),
Alexander Hickey (Spoken Vocals),
Alexander Hickey (Tenor),
John Crook (Spoken Vocals)
Written: 13th Century; France
Length: 74 Minutes 26 Secs.
Notes: On this recording the musical selections are sung in the original (old) French, with connecting spoken narration and dialogue in English. Antony Pitts is the musical director of this production, and he also co-directed the dramatic portions with Joanna Forbes, and co-authored the English translations with Rosemary Pitts.
Arranger: Antony Pitts.
Sedgwick Park, West Sussex (09/22/2003 - 09/23/2003); Sedgwick Park, West Sussex (10/03/2003); Finchcocks, Goudhurst, Kent, England (09/28/2004)
This selection is sung in English and Old French.
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