Songs from Le Voir Dit CDA67727

The series launched with the songs from Machaut’s long poetic sequence, the ‘Livre dou Voir Dit’ (the ‘Book of the True Tale’). The poems purport to be autobiographical, charting the ageing composer’s love affair with a young woman - some forty years his junior - from the frisson of excitement and anticipation at the outset to a picture of despair and humiliation at the inevitable ending. Written around 450 years before Schubert’s masterful settings of German poetry, ‘Le Voir Dit’ is arguably the first ever song-cycle. Listen to an excerpt from the solo Le lay de Bon Esperance, 'Longuement me sui tenus ', and the four-part Quant Theseus / Ne quier veoir.

Recording details: July 2012
Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Loughton, Essex, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: October 2013
Total duration: 64 minutes 26 seconds


Le Voir Dit is considered the masterpiece of the 14th-century French poet and composer Guillaume de Machaut. Whether or not it is a 'true' or autobiographically accurate tale, as the title implies, the nine songs embedded in Machaut’s anthology of verse and music speak plaintively and in a personal way of the pains and pleasures of love. Hauntingly and mellifluously sung by the four (but sometimes solo) voices of The Orlando Consort, this music still sounds as flavoursome as it must have done 650 years ago’ (The Daily Telegraph)

‘Here is a project for which Machaut fans have been waiting for a long time … this is an important and rewarding album that any lover of medieval music will want to own’ (International Record Review)

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What am I listening to?

You are listening to a commemorative motet, ‘Quis dabit capiti meo aquam’, by the composer, Heinrich Isaac (c1450-1517). Specifically, you will hear the last of the four sections of this beautiful piece, a lament on the death of Lorenzo de’ Medici in April 1492. It is one track from our latest disk, The Florentine Renaissance, produced by Hyperion records (DA68349), a rich and varied selection of secular and sacred music, an aural collage of the vibrant city of Florence in the early Renaissance.