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The Monophonic Songs in the 'Roman de Fauvel.'

By Samuel N. Rosenberg and Hans Tischler. (Lincoln; London: University of Nebraska Press, 1991). 172 pp.; 27 plates. ISBN 0-8032-3898-3. No price given.

Fauvel, the fourteenth-century satirical horse symbolizing the vices, is truly in the limelight: in 1992 a |video-livre musical' by J. de La Casiniere on FR3 on 18 April; a full-length ballet by Rupert Bawden, Le Livre de Fauvel, performed in Munich on 30 April. These follow the 1990 new facsimile of Paris Bibliotheque nationale, MS f. fr. 146 (New York, Broude Brothers) and the 1991 first edition of the monophonic songs from this musical version of the Roman de Fauvel by Rosenberg and Tischler, a team which had already proved itself with the trouvere anthology Chanter m'estuet. This sensible co-operation between specialists in literature and in music is exactly what is needed for such material, a model to be followed by all those wishing to study or to publish early song. The edition is beautifully presented, generally a pleasure to handle, though the quality of the reproduction of manuscript miniatures is not of the best, and it would be aesthetically more pleasing to take variants and other 'apparatus' away from the text pages. The scholarship is sound, the translation accurate, the commentaries well written and mercifully free from jargon. The one manuscript reference I was easily able to check proved to be in error, however: no. II, the conductus |Omni pene curie' by Walter of Chatillon, in Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 468, is f. [viii.up.r], not [vii.sup.v]; nevertheless, it is impressive that the editors knew that it was there! The seventy-one monophonic songs, in Latin and in French, are only part of the musical content of MS 146 (which also contains songs by Jehan de Lescurel): the polyphonic pieces, thirty-four motets, were published by L. Schrade in I956; fifty-three settings of Latin prose still await publication. The whole musical content, apparently interpolated c. 1316 by Chaillou de Pesstain into the original version of the Roman by Gervais de Bus (1310-14), represents a rich and varied anthology of music both secular and religious from the late twelfth to the early fourteenth century. The Roman text was edited by A. Langfors in 1936, and the text only of the musical interpolations by E. Dahnk in 1935: both of these editions are incomplete and faulty. The monophonic songs had been edited, with music, but never published, by G. Harrison in 1963 in a Columbia University dissertation; it is perhaps unfair of Tischler to refer to this as |quite inadequate'. Tischler is a convinced exponent of mensural transcription and so his versions have practical value as a guide to performance, unlike the vague, unmeasured alternative. What is lacking now is a final modern transcription bringing all the elements together in a single volume. Let us hope that this too will be achieved before long.
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Author:Wilkins, Nigel
Publication:Medium Aevum
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 1993
Previous Article:Poemetti misogini antico-francesi, vol. 1, Le blasme des fames.
Next Article:Le Livre de Jehan de Mandeville. Une 'Geographie' au XIVe siecle.

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