Voices Appeared

“The spectator was immersed in the fifteenth century...moved by the intensity of images and music.’ El Mundo

“[T]his is an exceptional achievement that reminds us just how potent the combination of silent film and live music can be.” The Guardian

[T]his now seems the benchmark score for Dreyer’s masterpiece." Classical Source

“A radical solution” The New Yorker

“a brilliant experiment” Cleveland Classical

“...a thought-provoking experiment that questioned the relationship between sound and image.” Musical Toronto

“Even without Dreyer’s searing film, to hear music of this immensely early period sung with such purity, wisdom, and insight is an inspiration” The Church Times

‘The vocal performance of the Orlando Consort was admirable, completing this marathon with unending elegance and lightness of touch, synchronising the smallest gestures and looks of the film with absolute precision.” Dreh Punkt Kultur

“If the film of Dreyer, in its inexorable advance to death at the stake of its protagonist, is distressing by itself, with this music, sung intensely during the hundred minutes by the five singers of the Orlando Consort, it is redoubled, together with an ability to stir our consciences and our emotions. Dreyer would have approved the experiment with enthusiasm and, from now on, it seems impossible to see the film again without it.” El País

Scene breakdown

"The following provides a breakdown of the various scenes of Carl Theodor Dreyer's La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc (1928) with a map of the music used in The Orlando Consort's Voices Appeared project. You will also find explanations for the choice of music, together with information about the composers and the compositions."

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Dreyer, strangeness and perversion

"I’m going to write a separate essay on the particular nature of film space in the movie, but it might help to consider the previous example in a little more detail. Lemaître’s questions to Joan about the Lord’s Prayer are shown with him looking off screen left, gazing down at Jeanne. But when he begins another line of questioning without any of the characters having moved, he is now looking up at her.  To interpret this inconsistency as metaphor is certainly possible – Lemaître has been belittled; Jeanne is now in the ascendancy - but the examples are so numerous that one hesitates to do so."

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Article for The Guardian

"Tonight, in St Margaret’s church in York, and the following day in Tewkesbury Abbey, the Orlando Consort, a vocal ensemble that specialises in medieval music, will take to the stage and sing a chanson by Guillaume Dufay with lyrics by Christine de Pizan from her 1429 poem about Joan of Arc. Dressed all in black, small earpieces in our ears, the glow of two laptops casting ghostly shadows on our faces, we will look more like Kraftwerk c.1975 than an early-music group."

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How we do it

"In the early days of film scoring, composers wrote music to last a specific amount of time, achieving that by dividing the beat and ascribing metronome marks. Then, more often than not, it was down to a conductor to observe those instructions in the studio. The orchestra would be assembled beneath a large screen, with a view of both afforded to the conductor. The metronome mark would be a guide only, specific moments – ‘stings’, beginnings or endings – indicated by a streamer that ran across the film so that the conductor could co-ordinate that particular dramatic moment with his beat (it was ubiquitously a man conducting)."

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What am I listening to?

You are listening to O tres piteulx / Omnes amici 'Lamentatio sancte matris ecclesie Constantinopolitane', a track from our latest release on Hyperion of music by Guillaume Dufay, one of the most important composers of the fifteenth century. It is a lament on the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453. It's one of the group's favourite pieces, a gentle and affecting piece that features both French and Latin texts, the latter from the Book of Lamentations. You can hear more on the Hyperion website, read the engaging liner notes, and order or download tracks or the entire album in a number of formats.