Nicolette et Aucassin

A Dramatic work for 2 Sopranos, Narrator and Piano

Duration: 27′
Commissioned by Margo Garrett

Premiere: Lincoln Center, NY January 2008
Elizabeth Futral, Lucy Shelton, Sopranos
Margo Garrett, Piano
Paul Michael Valley, Narrator

Recorded on Colors of Feelings, Delos Label with Susanna Phillips, Elizabeth Futral, Margo Garrett,  with Michel York as Narrator

Colors of Feelings – Susanna Phillips, Elizabeth Futral, Margo Garrett, Michael York

Nicolette et Aucassin is a 13th century sung-fable (Chantefable) of unknown authorship. In keeping with the original set-up, the text made up of alternating recited prose, narrations, and subtly rhyming poetic verses which are sung. The story is much like a Romeo and Juliet with the difference that it ends optimistically.

Nicolette and Aucassin is a unique document in the French literature of the Middle Ages because of this unusual alternation of spoken and sung word. Also, rare is that a gorgeous manuscript from the period survives at the French Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. The manuscript possesses beautiful illuminations and more amazingly, actual musical melodies, penned in the period neumatic style, for the opening first 2 lines and last line of each of its 20 sung verses

This music with its deliciously ambiguous modal qualities, forms the core integrated into the musical fabric, exist at the beginning and end of each of the 6 sung verses. of Lasser’s own compositional materials for the piece where the exact melodies,