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Oxford Trobadors: an evening of Occitan songs

Here I go again; another plug for the Oxford Trobadors. The Oxford Trobadors had a great rehearsal this morning in preparation for our Oxford Proms concert tomorrow (Monday evening), an evening of Occitan and Italian songs.  The rehearsal reminded us how beautifully crafted is the medieval troubadour poetry, and no poem demonstrates this better than La Sestina (The Sextine) by Arnaud Daniel (circa 1180).

A difficult poetic challenge: six verses, six lines each, six rhymes, used in each verse. His erotic song, proclaims his firm love (lo ferm voler qu’el cor m’intra) to his unreachable lover in her unreachable bedroom, before he finds paradise, and his joy is doubled (qu’en paradis, n’aura doble joi). The song contains the line tant fina amors com cela qu’el còr m’intra (such noble love as in my body enters). Fin amor is a persistent trobador theme. The Oxford Trobadors arrangement of this song includes the beautiful chorale composed by leading international guitarist Christoph Denoth

The medieval poems are beautiful enough, but the modern, contemporary songs in the Oxford Trobadors repertoire demonstrate that Occitan is a living, vibrant language and culture. 

Nadau ta Baptista  (Christmas for Baptiste) is still a favourite of our audiences, even when it is not Christmas. We simply love performing it! It is a gently lilting Pyrenees lullaby composed by the renowned group Nadau. Baptista sleeps while father Christmas (lo pair Nadau) flies through the night  (qui vola la haut) and gentle snowflakes fall on the lovers (sus los amoros). From the depths of his heart (Jo tot au dehens) he loves the child always (que t’aime, tostemps).

Other popular songs include L’aiga de la Dordonha (Waters of the Dordogne) and Arron d’Aimar (After Love), another Nadau song.

Tomorrow's concert will also feature Italian arias such as Mmiezz’o’ ggrano and Accarezzame (Caress me) beautifully sung by Trobador Soprano, Rossella Bondi, who also sings Ventadorn's (c.1150)  Quan vei la lauzeta mover. 

It should be an enjoyable evening!

Ray Noble is Lead vocalist with the Oxford Trobadors.

Details of the concert at the Holywell Music Room can be found at the Oxford Proms website.


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