Of all the forms of medieval French and Latin poetry the harp has the strongest connection to the lai, an extended form similar to a sequence but with free variation of the versicles. References to the performance of lais as harp solos as well as accompanying sung lais are found especially in Arthurian poems and narratives. The Lai de Aelis is from the late 13th c. manuscript “Chansonnier de Noailles” (Paris, BN MS fr. 12615). For this performance a shortened version of the lai has been arranged for harp by the performer. It is paired with La Quinte estampie real from the 13th c. manuscript “Chansonnier du Roi” (Paris BN MS fr. 844). This estampie is one of eleven untexted/instrumental monophonic melodies in the manuscript, which contains hundreds of songs with texts. The accompaniment is arranged by the performers.
Live, HD video from the Great Artists Series, February 15, 2014.
Bosch gothic medieval harp built by Rainer Thurau, Germany