- Por coi me bait mes maris
- Dansse Real I
- Lo rossinholet selvatge, song
- La Tierche Estampie Real, for consort
- En un vergier lez une fontenele, Rayn.594
- La Quarte Estampie Royal
- En ma forest
- Can l'erba fresch'
- Volés oïr muse Muset
- Bele Doette as fenestres se siet
- La Prime Estampie Royal, for consort
- Reis Glorios
The Art of Courtly Love takes center stage on Duo Trobairitz's Hyperion CD The Language of Love, which is devoted to French troubadour and trouvère songs of the eleventh through thirteenth centuries. These are monophonic songs originally performed in the courts of France of that day, and performing them in modern times has proven a challenge; as this is some of the earliest secular music to be written down, the sources don't reveal a whole lot about the way such pieces were heard. While a handful of treatises and other accounts exist about troubadours and the practices they observed, listeners still need to use their imagination to make a performance of such music credible and comprehensive to a twenty-first century audience. Duo Trobairitz has the imagination in spades, and tremendous talent to boot, not to mention a genuine love for the literature. Duo Trobairitz's consists of just two performers, singer Faye Newton and Hazel Brooks, who plays a slightly nasal-sounding period instrument called the vielle; Newton occasionally joins in with a second instrument called a symphonie that provides support for the vielle in the form of drones and other simple, accompaniment figures. Although it is a very minimal kind of performance overall, it is attractive to the ear and one gets used to it; it also chimes in with visual representations that exist in miniatures of court performances of the era. Faye Newton has a truly lovely voice -- she likely would have dazzled the original troubadours with her flexibility and artistry, as they are reputed to have been a rather rough-hewn lot. The program is broken up with solo vielle performances of the estampies from the "Manuscrit du Roi," the only instrumental pieces of their kind; on recordings, they are often played by a small band of medieval instruments, but are just as effective in these solo performances by Brooks. The Language of Love also includes the rarely recorded "La Prime Estampie Royal" from the same source, seldom done because in this case the manuscript is fragmentary and therefore missing the ending; Duo Trobairitz's solution to the problem seems entirely successful and authentic. If one has an interest in the sound and repertoire of medieval troubadour literature and desires to hear it in a period-appropriate setting without too many bells or whistles employed, then Duo Trobairitz's The Language of Love is about as close to such an ideal as one is likely to get.