Tristan & Yseult

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Program: #07-46   Air Date: Nov 05, 2007

The incomparable Brigitte Lesne and her Alla Francesca ensemble present another program in the reconstruction of the medieval story of Tristan and Isolde.

NOTE: All of the music on this program comes from a recording featuring the Ensemble Alla Francesca directed by Brigitte Lesne and Pierre Hamon on the French label Zig Zag Territoires--you may find out more from

The first Tristan written texts appear around 1170, with two trouveres (Beroul, then Thomas) writing versions in French, with anonymous episodes added in the texts in Oxford and Berne known as the Folie Tristan. The German additions by Eilhart von Oberge and (famously) Gottfried von Strassburg were enriched by Brother Robert's Old Norse saga on the theme written for the King of Denmark. By the 13th century, the Arthurian chivalric influence was seen in prose versions of the tale, and by the end of the 16th century we have more than 80 extant manuscript versions of the story.

Two early manuscripts contain monophonic lais (sung lyric narrative poems), the most famous of which, Austrian National Library 2542, gives us 17, twelve of which are on this recording (the instrumental works are dances, some identified with the Tristan myth).

--Lai D'Amours vient mon chant et mon plour ("From Love comes my song and my tears").
--Lai de victoire: Apres chou que je vi victoire ("After I was victorious")
--Lai Voir disant: Tant me sui de dire teu ("So long have I refrained from speaking" + and instr. version)
--Lai du Boire Pesant: La u jou fui dedans la mer ("When I was at sea")
--Lai San cuer sui (instrumental)
--Lai mortel: Ja fis canchonnetes et lais ("Once I made songs and lays")
--Lai D'amours viennent li dous penser ("From love come the sweet thoughts")
--Lai A toi, Roi Arthus ("To you, King Arthur, who 'til now had been the greatest of all lords")
--Lai Folie n'est pas vaselage! ("Folly is not courage!")
--Rota from Lamento di Tristano (instrumental)
--Lai En morant de si douche mort ("In dying a death so sweet")
--Lamento di Tristano (instrumental)
--Lai Li solaus luist et clers et biaus ("The sun is shining, bright, and fair").
--Lai du chevrefeuille (after Marie de France).

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