Commissioned by the Orlando Consort
This work, commissioned by the Orlando Consort, is based on Machaut’s eponymous virelai (a form of medieval French verse in poetry and music). Machaut’s original melody is carried in an augmented and modally-transposed form in the alto part over a pattern of offset syncopated rhythms in the lower three voices. These underlying rhythms are themselves based on the occasional syncopated phrase held in the melody itself. A more meditative central section is loosely based on the middle part of Machaut’s virelai. Here the syncopation in the lower parts is slowed down, whilst the upper two parts toy with Machaut’s melody in canon. There follows an altered re-statement of the opening material, after which the work ends with a short coda formed entirely from the underlying rhythms.
Virelai: Douce dame jolie: Virelai: Douce dame jolie