The Roman de Fauvel
The Boston Camerata · Ensemble P.A.N., Project Ars Nova


"This recording is also the soundtrack for a remarkable video production of the Roman de Fauvel manuscript, which is well worth seeing.
(The facsimile, alas, only includes some of the folios in full color, and thus it is a treat to see everything in color.)"
Erato 4509-96392-2

Fable médiévale en poésie et en musique
tirée du manuscrit fr. 146 de la Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris

Livre 1 - Portrait de Fauvel

01 - Porchier mieuz estre ameroy (J. Fleagle)   [0:59]
02 - O Varium fortune (A. Azéma)   [2:07]
03 - Quare fremuerunt gentes (motet - Ensemble PAN)   [1:19]
04 - Jure quod in opere (motet - Ensemble PAN)   [1:59]
05 - Ad solitum vomitum (motet - Ensemble PAN, A. Azéma)   [1:13]
06 - Virtus moritur (J. Fleagle)   [1:35]
07 - Floret fex favellea (P. Mason & J. Fleagle, M. Collver)   [1:56]
08 - Omni pene curie (P. Mason & J. Fleagle, M. Collver)   [2:14]
09 - Veni sancte spiritus (D. Visse)   [1:08]
10 - Rex beatus (motet - Ensemble PAN)   [1:35]

Livre 2 - Fauvel et Fortune

11 - Fauvel cogita (instrumental)   [1:49]
12 - Inter membra singula (instrumental - Kamen, Fulton)   [2:08]
13 - Veritas arpie (motet - Laurie Monahan, Kamen)   [0:50]
14 - Narration 'Seigneurs et dames...' (D. Visse, ensemble)   [2:29]
15 - Douce dame débonnaire (instrumental - Kamen, Fulton)   [1:19]
16 - J'ay fait nouveletement (motet - Ensemble PAN)   [1:04]
17 - Narration 'Deus roes out...' (A. Azéma, instruments)   [2:03]
18 - Ay Amours (J. Fleagle, Fulton)   [3:32]
19 - Sicut de ligno parvulus (motet - Ensemble PAN)   [2:17]
20 - A touz jour, sanz remanoir (D. Visse)   [1:26]
21 - Fauvel est mal assegné (A. Azéma)   [1:20]
22 - Douce dame débonnaire (D. Visse, Kamen)   [1:39]
23 - Fauvel cogita (A. Azéma, Kamen)   [3:33]
24 - Je qui poair seule (extrait - A. Azéma, Kamen)   [1:36]
25 - Buccinate in neomenia tuba (P. Mason & J. Fleagle, M. Collver)   [1:25]
26 - Le lai des Herlequines. En ce dous temps d'este (extrait - A. Azéma, Fulton, Kamen)   [2:04]
27 - Ah Parisius (P. Mason, ensemble)   [1:09]
28 - Narration 'Tele gent de jour en jour viennent' (D. Visse)   [1:28]
29 - Fauvel nous a fait présent (motet - Ensemble PAN)   [0:47]
30 - Ci chans veult boire (motet - J. Fleagle, P. Mason, M. Collver)   [1:47]
31 - Floret fex favellea (instrumental)   [1:38]
32 - Charivari (D. Visse, ensemble)   [2:25]
33 - Quomodo cantabimus (motet - Ensemble PAN)   [2:17]
34 - Philippe de VITRY. In nova fert (motet - Ensemble PAN)   [2:30]
35 - Porchier mieuz estre ameroy (J. Fleagle)   [0:57]
36 - Maria virgo virginum (motet - Ensemble PAN)   [1:02]
37 - Plebs fidelis francie (J. Fleagle, ensemble)   [1:59]
38 - In mari miserie (motet - A. Azéma, Fulton)   [0:58]


Anne Azéma, soprano, narration
Joel Cohen, baritone, percussion
Cheryl Ann Fulton, harps
Steven Lundahl, slide trumpet
Patrick Mason, baritone
Dan Stillman, shawm, slide trumpet, recorder
Dominique Visse, countertenor, tenor, narration



Laurie Monahan, mezzo-soprano, organetto
Michael Collver, countertenor
John Fleagle, tenor, hurdy-gurdy
Shira Kammen, vielle, rebec, harp


reedición en Apex (Warner) 2564-62038-2:


El Roman en pdf


Le Roman de Fauvel

In the year 1310 manuscript copies of a scurrilous satirical poem, the Roman de Fauvel, began circulating around Paris. Corrosive, pitiless, the poet, a mid-level government functionary named Gervais de Bus, attacked what he saw as the pervasive corruption of society's institutions -- both church and state -- and of the men who wielded power within those institutions. The poem's central metaphor for moral rot and decadence was a fallow-colored horse named Fauvel, symbol of everything wrong with France, her society, and her system of governance.

Like the anti-government political polemicists of late-twentieth century America and Europe, Gervais de Bus seems to have found an audience. So much so that a second book of Fauvel, due at least in part to the hands of other authors, was soon produced. More astonishing still, considering the violently anti- establishment tone of the writing, a luxurious presentation edition of Fauvel, including numerous illuminated miniatures and 167 musical interpolations, was prepared for an unknown but presumably wealthy and well-placed patron in 1316. It is this expanded Fauvel, now preserved in the Paris Bibliothèque Nationale, that forms the basis for our present recording. The expanded text of the Paris manuscript includes the story of Fauvel and the Goddess Fortune, Fauvel's marriage to Vain Glory, a raucous wedding-night charivari, and an Armageddon-like confrontation of Vice and Virtue. The music of the manuscript, chosen with great care at every point to complement the literary text, encompasses every sort of then-current musical composition: Gregorian chants, courtly songs, narrative lais, obscene street calls, and exquisite examples of polyphony in the avant-garde Ars Nova style. Our selection of text and music from this puzzling and magnificent book aims to capture the spirit of the original Gesamtkunstwerk. By turns truculent and lyrical, comic and tragically earnest, scatalogical and devout, formally daring and populist, the source reflects the strengths and contradictions of the age. Even more surprising, the work has many resonances for its own time. As we struggle to make sense of our own disillusioned cynicism, our own yearning for a better Way, the songs and stories of Fauvel seem to resonate with all the intensity and color they originally had nearly seven centuries ago. Ci commence le livre de Fauvel...

On performing Fauvel

The illustrated Fauvel manuscript of the Bibliothèque Nationale intrigues the contemporary imagination. Its effervescent mixture of words, music, and image seem to prefigure the "multimedia" concerns of our latter 20th century. And yet, it is a difficult work to translate into contemporary terms. Attempts have been made in recent decades to create staged versions of Fauvel - yet a poem whose only characters are metaphors is hard to translate into acted drama. In fact, the "theater" of the original Fauvel was probably not some public proscenium, but the theater of the mind. The big Fauvel book was, I think, an end in itself, intended for the delectation of those privileged few who got to see it. Paradoxically, and fortunately, the modern CD player or the VCR make it easier to approach the original, medieval experience than a public performance ever can.

The original Fauvel poem, it must be remembered, began life in the literary underground. It employed symbolism and metaphor to hide its references to actual political events. Its subversive truths were, it seems, meant to be whispered into the mind's ear rather than shouted from the rooftops. And the wonderful music, frozen by the scribe on the manuscript page, sings out to us in this special context with voices at once intensely present, yet disembodied and suggestively unreal. The practice of singing several texts simultaneously, employed in the majority of the polyphonic motets, may add to the listeners' sense of unreality; and in fact, the motet form itself was a kind of elaborate mind game. In the present recording, performances of the motets have been entrusted to the Ensemble Project Ars Nova, while the monodic songs have been assigned to various combinations of voices and instruments. For this production, new editions of the monodies were prepared from the original manuscript notation by Anne Azéma, Joel Cohen, and John Fleagle.