Voices Appeared

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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Manuscript sources and editions

If you are interested in delving a little deeper into the music used in Voices Appeared, then you may want to have a look at this. It provides full information on the sections of music used as discovered in the original fifteenth-century musical manuscripts and the modern editions that we consulted. It forms one of the Appendices of Don's doctoral thesis.

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What am I listening to?

You are listening to Riches d'amours, a track from our latest release on Hyperion of musci by Guillaume de Machaut, the great French poet-composer. 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.