Mirail de prez / Merit’s Mirror

22Ensemble MOTUS HARMONICUS explores the lingua materna and women’s voices from history, reconstructing songs of the trobairitz (female troubadours). Centering on women’s song primarily from the 12th-13th century Occitania – an area containing parts of modern-day France, Italy, and Spain – this new program is a historical celebration of women’s speech, and of those remarkable figures whose names and voices did survive the ages. Lyrics by Azalais de Porcairagues, Lombarda, Clara d’Anduza, and others.

Twelfth-century Occitania not only provides a rich cultural legacy in the fields of medieval literature and music, but also a special context and viewpoint into issues of medieval gender and music. In addition to the well-known (male) troubadours of this period, female troubadours, called “trobairitz”, also existed. Their output shines as the first known secular music by female composers in European history.The compositions of some of the trobairitz have survived in later medieval manuscript song collections, most without recorded music notation.

Mirail de prez is a project that has had many years of research in linguistics, history, and comparative analysis of contemporary sources, especially surviving notated troubadours melodies. Based on reconstructions for these “lost” songs, this programme presents this valuable repertoire in the history of women’s music.

Program for three performers and sur-titles or reciter: Isabella Shaw (voice and harp), Mara Winter (medieval transverse flute), Jakub Michl (fiddle).